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3 1833 01745 7828 





of the 

Oregon Historical Society 


MARCH 1913 


Cofirrisht. 191 3. br Oreson Hiitorieml Soctetr 
Ths Qauteilr diMTow* retpoonUlity tot the poddooi taken by contributon to iM p«s« 


UEUTENANT NEIL M. HOWISON— Report on Oregon. 1846. 

A Reprint 1,60 

THOMAS W. PROSCH— Oregon in 1863 61-64 

HENRY C. COE— Father Wilbur >s Indian Agent. 1886 - - - 65-67 
DOCUMENTS — Cost of Improvements made by Dr. John McLoughlin at 

WillamelteFalU to January I. 1851 68-70 

REVIEW— F. G. YOUNG— Coman's Economic Beginnings of the Far West 71-79 

PRICE: nrrV cents per number, two dollars per YEAR 
Entered at the po$t office at Portland. Oregon, as leeond-cleu matter 




of the 

Oregon Historical Society 


Copyright, 1 9 1 3, by Oregon Hutoiical Society 
The Quarterly disavows respoosibJity for the positions taken by contributon to iti pages 

ON OREGON, 1846 



Lieutenant Howison was early in 1846 detailed by Commo- 
dore Sloat of the Pacific squadron of the United States Navy, 
then on this Coast, to make an examination of the situation in 
Oregon. This order was given at the instance of George 
Bancroft, Secretary of the Navy, and the expedition had prob- 
ably been resolved upon by the administration at Wash- 
ington. During the months of April, May and most of June 
liis vessel, the schooner Shark, was undergoing repairs in the 
Sandwich Islands in preparation for the trip, Howison en- 
tered the Columbia on July 1, conducted his investigations and 
prepared, in compliance with his orders, to return about Sep- 
tember 1. He suffered shipwreck in crossing the Columbia 
bar on September 10. Chartering the Cadboro from the Hud- 
son's Bay Company officials he was ready to sail November 1, 
but was compelled by unfavorable weather to remain anchored 
in Baker's Bay until January 18. 

His disastrous experience in the total loss of his vessel, and 
the difficulties he contended with throughout his course in nav- 
igating the Columbia naturally made him emphasize the condi- 
tions affecting the channels and passableness of that river. He 
revised Captain Wilkes' sailing directions for entering the Co- 
lumbia. Changes in the channels in the intervening five years 
had made this revision necessary. 

2 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

It will be noticed that as he was preparing to embark on the 
Cadboro in early November in 1846, homeward bound, the 
American barque Toulon arrived from the Sandwich Islands 
with the "news of the Oregon treaty, Mexican war, and occu- 
pation of California." He had taken his observations of condi- 
tions in Oregon near the close of that long period of suspense 
over the unsettled ownership of the country. He had seen 
"all settled spots on the Columbia below the Cascades, the 
Wilhammette valley for sixty miles above Oregon City, and 
the Twality and Clatsop plains." He confines his/ report to 
subjects his "own observations or verbal inquiries from authen- 
tic sources could reach." 

He begins with a characterization of the attractive personal- 
ity of Dr. Mclaughlin, and gives an appreciative estimate of 
his able and sagacious administration of the affairs of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company down to 1845, and of his large service to 
the community as a whole. The attitudes taken toward him by 
the different elements in the Oregon community are not with- 
held. The classes in the composition of the population of Ore- 
gon in the middle of the forties are described, particularly the 
situation in which the American immigrants found themselves 
after completing their long treks across the continent. 

The Hudson's Bay Company dominated the affairs in the 
settlement. The benevolence, the steadiness and the far- 
sighted character of the policy of the managers of that concern 
elicited his commendation. 

Lieutenant Howison's report supplies very definite informa- 
tion on the trade, shipping, productions, towns, Indian popu- 
lation and general development of Oregon at this stage. He 
forecasts with wonderful clearness the factors that have been 
controlling influences in its growth ever since. The document 
is a fit companion of the reports of Slacum and of Wilkes. 
These are found iti Volume XIII, pp. 175-224, and in volume 
XII, pp. 269-299, respectively, of the Quarterly. 


Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 3 

30th Congress, [HOUSE OF REPS.] Miscellaneous 

1st Session. No. 29. 




to the commander of the pacific squadron; 


The result of cm examinatiom in the year 1846 of the coast, har- 
bors, rivers, soil, productions., climate and pop- 
tdation of the Territory of Oregon. 

February 29, 1848. 

U. S. Frigate Savannah, 
San Francisco, California, February I, 1847. 

Sir : Want of opportunity has prevented me from commu- 
nicating with the commander-in-chief of the squadron since the 
month of June last. 

I shall therefore do myself the honor on this occasion to 
report in detail my proceedings since that date, premising that 
the much regretted shipwreck of the vessel I commanded, with 
the loss of her log-book and all my papers, obliges me to draw 
upon memory for what is now respectfully submitted. 

In obedience to orders from Commodore Sloat, then com- 
manding the Pacific squadron, I took the United States 
schooner "Shark" last A^ril to the Sandwich islands, where she 
was thoroughly repaired and newly coppered. With my best 
exertions, this was not completed until the 23d of June, on the 
afternoon of which day I sailed for the Columbia river. Noth- 
ing more than usual occurred on this voyage. Made the land 
of Oregon on the 15th of July, about thirty miles north of the 

4 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

river, and in expectation of northw'esterly winds ; but we had 
calms and light westerly winds for the succeeding three days, 
which obliged me frequently to anchor on the coast, and await 
a change of tide, the direction of the flood being directly on 
shore, and the soundings shoal ; in some places only ten fathoms 
seven or eight miles from the land. 

About 10 o'clock a. m., of July 18, I anchored in ten fath- 
oms. Cape Disappointment bearing NE. by N., distant 
five miles. Several guns were fired and signals made for a 
pilot ; but seeing no one moving about the shore, on either side 
of the river, I took the master with me in the whale-boat, and 
pulled in the channel, between the breakers, sounding in no 
less than four fathoms, and passing sufficiently far in to rec- 
ognise the landmarks on the north shore, described in Wilkes's 
sailing directions. 

Here it is proper to mention, that while at the Sandwich 
islands I met with Captain Mott, master of the Hudson's Bay 
Company's barque Vancouver, and Captain Crosby, master of 
the American barque Toulon, both of whom had lately been 
in the Columbia river. I was informed by those persons that 
the sands about the mouth of the Columbia had undergone 
great changes within a short time past, and that a spit had 
formed out to the eastward from the spot upon which the Pea- 
cock was wrecked in 1841, which made it impossible to enter 
the river by the old marks, or those laid down on Wilkes's 
chart. The receipt of this information was most opportune 
and fortunate for me, as I had no other guide than a copy of a 
copy, upon tracing paper, of Wilkes's chart, which was even 
now, before its publication, out of date. 

This new formation of Peacock spit, extending into the old 
channel, greatly obstructed this already embarrassing naviga- 
tion, and those most experienced undertook to cross the bar 
with apprehension and dread. When, therefore, a seaman of 
my crew, who had been wrecked in the 'Teacock," reminded 
me that this was the anniversary of her loss, I cannot deny that 
I felt sensibly the weight of my responsibilities. 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 5 

Having, however, traced the channel in my whale-boat 
through the tumult of various tide rips, and the way seeming 
clear, I returned on board the schooner, and at 2 p. ni. got 
under way and stood in ENE. With the wind at west, weather 
clear, and tide young flood, we glided rapidly and safely into 
Baker's bay ; and to those who were unacquainted with the 
dangers which closely and imperceptibly beset our passage in, 
nothing appeared more simple and free from danger. Upon 
rounding Cape Disappointment, a boat came alongside with 
three American gentlemen in her, who introduced themselves 
as Mr. Lovejoy, the mayor of Oregon city, Mr. Spalding, a 
missionary, and Mr. Gray, a resident of Clatsop Plai'ns. From 
these I learned that no regular pilots were to be had for the 
river, but that there was a black man on shore who had been 
living many years at the cape, was a sailor, and said, if sent 
for he would come off and pilot us up to Astoria. He was ac- 
cordingly brought on board, and spoke confidently of his 
knowledge of the channel ; said he had followed the sea twenty 
years, and had been living here for the last six ; that "I need 
have no fear of him," &c. He ordered the helm put up, head 
sheets aft, and yards braced, with an air that deceived me into 
the belief that he was fully competent to conduct the vessel, and 
he was put in charge of her. In twenty minutes he ran us 
hard ashore on Chinook shoal, where we remained several 
hours thumping severely. We got off about 10 p. m., without 
having suffered any material damage, and anchored in the 
channel, where I was determined to hold on until I could make 
myself acquainted with the channel, or procure the services of 
a person to be relied on. At daylight T was pleased to find Mr. 
Lattee, formerly mate of a ship belonging to the Hudson's Bay 
Company, and nov/ in charge of the port at Astoria, on board. 

Upon the vessel's grounding, the gentlemen visitors, feeling 
themselves somewhat responsible for the employment of this 
pretended pilot, immediately put off to Astoria, a distance of 
ten miles, to procure the services of Lattee, who promptly com- 
plied with the request, and they all came back to the schooner 
about daylight, having been all night exposed in an open boat. 

6 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

At 2 p. m. of the 19th, I anchored off Astoria, where I re- 
mained until the 22d, in order to visit Catsop Plains and the 
neighboring country. 

We were abundantly furnished by the American settlers 
here with fresh beef and vegetables. 

As I have said before, my only guide up the river was 
Wilkes's chart, which extended about twenty-five miles, and 
included part of Puget's island. In this a fine straight channel 
is delineated from the neighborhood of Tongue point up to 
Termination island. But upon consulting Lattee and an In- 
dian named George, who acts as pilot in the upper part of the 
river, they both denied the existence of this channel, and as- 
sured me that no other than the shallow and tortuous passage 
which Captain Wilkes had himself always used, and which 
was invariably used by all others, had been found out, although 
George said he had often in his canoe, and at favorable times, 
attempted to trace it as described by Captain Wilkes and his 
officers. I nevertheless adhered to the opinion that such a 
channel existed, but thought it best at present to follow the 
beaten track, and accordingly buoyed out the common channel, 
(which is necessarily done by every vessel attempting to pass 
through it), and used that in proceeding up the river. I em- 
ployed Indian George to accompany me, and derived great ad- 
vantage from his knowledge of the water above Tongue Point 
channel. He knows nothing about handling a vessel, but, with 
a fair wind, will conduct her very safely, pointing out ahead 
where the channel runs. 

At this season of the year westerly winds blow every day, 
and there is no difficulty in ascending the river. 

I reached Fort Vancouver, 100 miles from its mouth, on the 
night of July 24th, where I found H. B. M. sloop-of-war "Mo- 
dcGte," Captain Baillie, who immediately sent on board his com- 
pliments and the offer of his services. There were also moored 
to the river bank two barques and a ship in the employment of 
the Hudson's Bay Company. The next morning Mr. Douglass, 
chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, called on me with 
polite offers of supplies, &c. 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 7 

On the 26th, I dropped down to the mouth of the Wilham- 
mette, six miles below Vancouver, and made an effort to get 
the schooner over the bar at the mouth of the river, with the 
view of ascending it as far as navigable for sea-going vessels ; 
but having grounded on the bar, and the water having still 
five or six feet to fall, I was obliged to desist from the attempt ; 
and sending off in a boat the first lieutenant and some other 
officers to visit Oregon city, and the neighboring American 
settlers, I returned with the schooner to Vancouver. 

At this time we had not heard of the settlement of the boun- 
dary question, and intense excitement prevailed among all 
classes of residents on this important subject. I enjoined it by 
letter on the officers under my command to refrain from engag- 
ing in arguments touching the ownership of the soil, as it was 
our duty rather to allay than increase excitement on a question 
which no power hereabouts could settle. 

The officers were also directed to seek all the information 
respecting the country which their respective opportunities 
might afford. Besides the sloop of war Modeste, anchored in 
the river, the British government kept the frigate Fisguard 
in Puget's sound, and the strongly armed steamer Cormorant 
in the sound and about Vancouver's island. These unusual 
demonstrations produced anything but a tranquilizing effect 
upoh the American portion of the population, and the presence 
of the British flag was a constant source of irritation. 

The English officers used every gentlemanly caution to re- 
concile our countrymen to their presence, but no really good 
feelings existed. Indeed, there could never be congeniality be- 
twee"n persons so entirely dissimilar as an American frontier 
man and a British naval officer. But the officers never, to my 
knowledge, had to complain of rude treatment. The English 
residents calculated with great certainty upon the river being 
adopted as the future dividing line, and looked with jealousy 
upon the American advance into the northern portion o{ the 
territory, which had some influence in restraining emigration. 

8 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

Finding it impossible to get the schooner into the Willhamette 
river, I left her at Vancouver, and made a visit to Oregon city, 
where T was received by the provisional governor, George 
Abernethy, esq., and honored with a salute fired from a hole 
drilled in the village blacksmith's anvil. From the city the gov- 
ernor accompanied me for a week's ride through the Willham- 
mette valley, and a more lovely country nature has never pro- 
vided for her virtuous sons and daughters than I here travelled 
over. This excursion ended, the governor took a seat in my boat, 
and accompa'nied me to Vancouver. He was received on board 
the schooner with a salute and remained with me for two days. 
I had previously dispatched the first lieutenant, Mr. W. S. 
Schenck, up the Columbia river as high as the Dalles, to find 
out what settlements had been made along its banks, and more 
particularly to endeavor to gain some information of the large 
emigration which was expected in from our western frontier 
this autumn, and from which we should get dates from home 
as late as June. In person I visited the Twality plains, and 
returned again by the city and river. 

The high price of mechanics' labor here, and facility with 
which any one can earn a living, had tempted ten of the Shark's 
crew to desert ; and although a liberal reward was offered for 
their appreheVision, only two had been brought back. The few 
American merchant vessels which had visited the Columbia 
suffered the greatest inconvenience from the loss of their men 
in this way, and it is now customary for them to procure a 
reinforcement of Kanakas in passing the Sandwich islands, to 
meet this exigency. 

When Captain Wilkes left the river i'n 1841. he placed the 
Peacock's launch, at that time a new and splendid boat, in 
charge of Dr. McLaughlin, agent of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, to be used in assisting vessels about the bar, should they 
need it. After this boat had remained a year in the water with- 
out being of any use, she was hauled up on shore, and was 
now completely out of order from the effect of decay and 
shrinkage. Many applications had been made for her by Amer- 
ican emigrants, but Dr. McLaughlin did not feel authorized to 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 9 

deliver her to any other than a United States officer. She was 
fast going to pieces, and I thought it good pohcy to sell her 
for the benefit of the government, particularly as the man who 
purchased did so with the intention of repairing her, to be 
used as a pilot boat ; she brought $150. It would have required 
as much more to repair her, and I was only anxious she should 
sell for enough to make the purchaser take care of her and 
keep her employed. 

Being under orders to come out of the river by the 1st day of 
September, my explorations were necessarily very limited, mak- 
ing the best use of our time. Many interesting portions of the 
country were still unvisited, which I greatly regret; for al- 
though Captain Wilkes in 1841, and other travellers since, 
have given very comprehensive descriptions of the country, 
so rapid are the developments made of its productions and re- 
sources by the large annual emigration of inhabitants, that 
a statistical account two years old may be considered out of 
date. Preparations were, of course, made to comply fully with 

The American barque Toulon, bound to the Sandwich is- 
lands, and now attempting to go down the river, had required 
the services of the old Indian, who acted as pilot, which left 
me entirely dependent on the lead, and a boat ahead, to feel 
my way through a devious channel of nearly 100 miles in 
extent. I had not, nor could I procure, a map giving even an 
outline of the general direction of the stream. Thus unpro- 
vided, I left Fort Vancouver at daylight of August 23d. Three 
or four miles below the fort, I found the barque Toulon badly 
aground on a sand bar. I anchored abreast of her and sent 
men and boats to her assistance, but the current was strong, 
and it became 'necessary to unlade part of her cargo ; so, nearly 
three days were consumed in relieving her. This, and the sub- 
sequent tediousness of the voyage down against constant head 
winds, made it the 8th of September when I anchored in 
Baker's bay. The 9th was devoted to observations on the bar 
and preparations for crossing it. On the 10th, in the after- 

10 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

noon, the attempt was made and resulted in the shipwreck 
of the schooner, as is circumstantially related in my communi- 
cation dated September 21st. 

Cast on shore as we were, with nothing besides the clothes 
we stood in, and those thoroughly saturated, no time was to be 
lost in seeking new supplies. I left the crew, indifferently shel- 
tered, at Astoria, and, with the purser in company, pushed up 
the river to Vancouver, whither news of our disaster had 
preceded us, and elicited the sympathy and prompt attentions 
of the factors of the Hudson's Bay Company and of Captain 
Baillie and the officers of her Britannic Majesty's ship "Mo- 
deste." These ge'ntlemen had unitedly loaded a launch with 
such articles of clothing and necessary provisions as we were 
most likely to need, and added a gratuitous offering of a bag 
of coffee and 80 pounds of tobacco. I met this boat 25 miles 
below the fort, and could not but feel extremely grateful for 
this very friendly and considerate relief. Copies of the let- 
ters accompanying these supplies are appended to this report, 
(marked A and B,) as well as an extract from one from 
Governor Abernethy, and another of the same friendly tenor 
from Captain Couch, an American trader at Oregon city, agent 
of Mr. Cushing, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, (the last 
marked C and D;) to all of which I made appropriate replies. 

At Vancouver my wants of every kind were immediately 
supplied by the Hudson's Bay Company; and although cash 
was at Oregon city and with the American merchants worth 
twelve per cent, more than bills, yet the company fur'nished all 
my requisitions, whether for cash or clothing, taking bills on 
Messrs. Baring & Brothers at par. Upon returning to Astoria, 
I set about putting up log houses for our accommodation, as 
there was no vessel in the river, and it was extremely uncer- 
tain v/hen an opportunity would occur for us to leave. We 
got two comfortable buildings, of 30 by 24 feet, a story and a 
half high, well floored and boarded, with kitchen and bake oven, 
soon ready for occupation and use, and had half completed a 
frame house for the officers' special accommodation, when the 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 11 

schooner "Cadboro" arrived, which opened a prospect of leav- 
ing the river, and induced us to desist from finishing the offi- 
cers' house. The cost of plank for these buildings was some- 
thing over two hundred dollars. 

Officers and men had been constantly kept exploring the 
beach from Point Adams to the southward, to pick up any 
articles worth saving which should drift ashore from the wreck, 
but they seldom found a spar or plank from her which the 
Indians had not already visited and robbed of its copper and 
iron fastenings. 

Receiving information through the Indians that part of the 
hull, with guns upon it, had come ashore below Killimuk's 
Head, about 20 or 30 miles south of Point Adams, I sent 
Midshipman Simes, an enterprising youth, to visit the spot. 
He did so, and reported that the deck betwee'n the mainmast 
and fore hatch, with an equal length of the starboard broadside 
planking above the wales, had been stranded, and that three 
of the carronades adhered to this portion of the wreck. He 
succeeded in getting one above high-water mark ; but the other 
two were inaccessible, on account of the surf ; and as it would 
have been utterly impracticable to transport any weighty ob- 
ject over the mountain road which it was necessary to traverse, 
I of course made no exertions to recover them, but informed 
the governor of their position, that during the smooth seas 
of next summer he might send a boat round and embark 

Within a month all the upper works, decks, sides and spars 
came ashore from the wreck, but separated a distance of 75 
miles from each other, and were of no value, from the long 
wash and chafing which they had undergone. To the heel of 
the bowsprit we found two kedge anchors attached, one with 
an arm broken off ; and it is a little singular that the only 
articles recovered which could be at all useful hereafter were 
of metal and weight. 

On the 11th of October we were cheered with the sight of a 
sail in the offing, and next day the Hudson's Bay Compahy's 

12 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

schooner Cadboro, from Vancouver's island, anchored at As- 
toria. The first lieutenant, master, and assistant surgeon were 
ordered to examine her, and report in writing her capacity 
or fitness to transport us to California; and although she was 
but 57 feet in length, they were of opinion we could pack in 
her closely and make the voyage. I lost no time, therefore, 
in going up the river and chartering her from the company; 
and although the price demanded (£500 sterling) was, in my 
judgment, an extravagant one, my anxiety to rejoin the squad- 
ron, having heard overland of hostilities with Mexico, was 
such as to overrule all other considerations, and I engaged the 

On the 28th of October the winter set in, with a strong 
gale at southeast, and heavy rain. The Cadboro was pre- 
pared to receive us on board by the 1st of November; but 
unremitting gales from the southward, with rain, prevented us 
from embarking until the 16th. In the meantime the American 
barque Toulon arrived from the Sandwich islands, and brought 
us news of the Oregon treaty, Mexican war, and occupation 
of California. This intelligence re'ndered us doubly anxious 
to escape from our idle imprisonment in the river, and we 
seized upon the first day of sunshine to embark. This was on 
the 16th of November. 

The ground upon which the houses described above had been 
built (the extremity of Point George) was within the pre- 
emption claim of ColoViel John McClure, who lived at Astoria ; 
and, upob vacating them, they were put under his care, and 
subject to his use, as will be seen by letter annexed (marked 
E.) The right ownership of the soil being decided by the 
treaty, I no longer felt any reserve in hoisting our flag on 
shore ; and it had been some time waving over our quarters on 
the very spot which was first settled by the white man on the 
banks of the Columbia. When we broke up a'nd embarked, 
I transmitted this emblem of nationality to Governor Aber- 
nethy. The letter accompanying it, and the governor's reply, 
are annexed, (marked F and G.) 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 13 

The Cadboro anchored in Baker's bay November 17th, where 
we remained, pent up by adverse winds and a turbulent sea 
on the bar, until the 18th of January. Her master, an old sea- 
man, had been navigating this river and coast for the last 18 
years, and his vessel drew but eight feet water; yet, in this 
long interval of sixty-two days he could find no opportunity 
of getting to sea safely. This is in itself a commentary upon 
the dangerous character of the navigation of the mouth of the 

We suffered very much from our crowded stowage in this 
small craft. The weather was wet and cold ; and the vessel not 
affording the comfort of stove or fireplace, and without space 
for exercise, I was very apprehensive that we should have some- 
thing more serious than chilblains and frost-bitten fingers to 
complain of ; but it was not so. Both officers and me'n enjoyed 
the most robust health and ravenous appetites. Many of the 
smaller items of the ration being deficient, the value was made 
up by beef, salmon, and potatoes, and of these each man con- 
sumed and digested his four pounds and a half a day. The 
Hudson's Bay Company allow its servatits while making a 
voyage eight pounds of meat a day, and I am told the allow- 
ance is none too much. Our long detention in the river obliged 
me upon two occasions to send on new requisitions upon the 
company's store at Vancouver for supplies, which were prompt- 
ly answered. 

The Toulon, having gone up the Willhammette, discharged her 
cargo and taken in another, came down the river and anchored 
near us on the 8th of January. Ten days afterwards we both 
succeeded in getting to sea, and arrived in company at San 
Francisco on the 27th of January. The barque was laden with 
provisions, principally flour, which latter cost her $6 per barrel. 
Before she came to an anchor a United States officer had 
boarded her and purchased nearly all she had at $15 per 

We found at San Francisco the U. S. frigate Savannah, and 
sloop-of-war Warren, to which vessels my officers and crew 

14 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

were immediately transferred and assumed their appropriate 

It will be seen by the foregoing sketch that although my visit 
to Oregon was most unexpectedly prolonged to six months, it 
had notwithstanding offered very limited opportunities of ex- 
tending personal researches throughout the country. The offi- 
cers, in compliance with my orders, have individually furnished 
me with a written report of all the information that each had 
acquired deemed worth communicating, and I take this occasion 
to express my obligations to them for the aid thus rendered me 
— a service alike useful to me and performed in a manner 
highly creditable to themselves. From these and the result of 
my own inquiries and observations, I am enabled to put you in 
possession of the following information, which, though it may 
be deemed in many points trite and unimportant, I will not 
apologize for, as my instructions required a full and minute 
report, which "for its very fullness would be the more accept- 
able. {Extract from Mr. Bancroft's letter of August 5, 1845.) 

During the summer months, from April until October, the 
winds on the coast prevail almost uninterruptedly from the 
west, inclining northerly in the afternoon, and the other part 
of the year they are generally from SE., S., and SW. ; the nav- 
igator will therefore know what course to adopt in approaching 
the mouth of the river. He cannot fix the cape, even when 
many hundred miles distant, better than on an ENE. bearing. 
He will be almost sure of a fair wind, as it seldom blows from 
northeast any distance off shore. Cape Disappointment is in 
latitude 46° 19' N., longitude 124° W. It is between six and 
seven hundred feet high, and can be seen in clear weather 30 
miles. It juts prominently out into the sea, is a bold headland, 
and, if the weather be such as to allow an approach within 
15 miles of it, cannot possibly be mistaken by persons at all 
experienced in adjusting a line of coast with the chart south 
of the Columbia. Soundings are very deep close in shore, while 
to the north of the river you will have from 15 to 20 fathoms 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 15 

in some places ten miles from shore, and in high westerly gales 
the sea often breaks five miles from the beach. A ship should 
never go nearer the coast than ten miles or twelve, unless with a 
view of going right in, or of reconnoitring the bar, particularly 
in winter, when the southeasterly gales spring suddenly up, and 
as suddenly shift to SW, and WSW., which with a flood tide 
requires a good sailing vessel and a press of canvas to keep 
a safe offing. I lay at anchor in Baker's bay, some three hun- 
dred yards inside the cape, from November 17, 1846, until 
January 18, 1847; and although we were unfortunately desti- 
tute of barometer and thermometers, we had a good oppor- 
tunity of observing during these two winter months the wind 
and weather. The heavens were almost always overcast; the 
wind would spring up moderately at E., haul within four hours 
to SE., increasing in force and attended with rain. It would 
continue at this point some 20 hours, and shift suddenly in a 
hail storm to SW., whence, hauling westwardly and blowing 
heavy, accompanied with hail and sleet, it would give us a 
continuance of bad weather for three or four days, and force 
the enormous Pacific swell to break upon shore with terrific 
violence, tossing its spray over the tops of the rocks more than 
two hundred feet high. A day of moderate weather, with the 
wind at NE., might succeed this ; but before the sea on the bar 
would have sufficiently gone down to render it passable, a 
renewal of the southeaster would begin and go on around the 
compass as before. 

Throughout Oregon the NE. wind, or between N. and E., 
is clear and dry, and in winter very cold ; it is the only wind 
at that season which will serve to take a ship safely out to 
sea; and as it generally succeeds the westerly gales, which 
leave a heavy sea on, the impatient navigator is oftentimes 
obliged to remain at his anchor until this fair wind has blown 
itself out. The northeaster may, as I have said before, be 
considered a land breeze, not reaching over ten or twelve miles 
to sea. In the upper part of the Territory, and above the 
mouth of the Cowlitz, on the Columbia, clear easterly winds 

16 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

are prevalent, and it is during their continuance the greatest 
degree of cold is felt; the river is often frozen over in the 
neighborhood of Fort Vancouver. Even in Baker's bay, the 
schooner we were on board of was in January belted around 
with ice at the water's edge, fully eighteen inches thick; this 
was, however, considered by the old residents an unusual and 
extraordinary spell of cold weather. 

Captain Wilkes's survey, in 1841, of the mouth of the Co- 
lumbia, however accurately it may have been done, is, I am 
sorry to say, at present only calculated to mislead the navigator ; 
this I affirm without any intention to reproach himself or his 
assistants with incapacity or neglect ; five years' time has doubt- 
less put an entirely new face upon the portrait of the sands 
hereabouts ; nor has the change been altogether sudden, for I 
ascertained from those who had passed and sounded among the 
sands at short intervals since the date of the survey, that these 
changes have been gradually and steadily progressing. This 
chart delineates two fine open channels, broad and with reg- 
ular outlines ; but at this mome'nt the mouth of the southern 
channel is nearly closed up, not having at low water more 
than two fathoms in it, while the old or northern one is ob- 
structed by a spit from the wreck of the Peacock to the east- 
ward ; so that on the line of six fathoms laid down on the chart, 
only six feet can now be found. Many other changes equally 
important have taken place within the bar, which is needless 
to allude to here. The constant alterations which this bar, in 
common with most others, is undergoing, go to prove the 
necessity of frequent surveys and the establishment of resi- 
deht pilots, who can be constantly exploring the channel, and 
keep pace with the shifting of sands, and the consequent change 
in the direction of the tides. 

, The following sailing directions will at this time carry a 
vessel safely into Baker's bay ; but how far they may be suit- 
able a year hence is altogether doubtful. There has been no 
heavy freshet in the Columbia for the last two summers, and 
the elongated and narrow spits which now jut out from the sands 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 17 

bordering on the channel are considered the result of the pre- 
dominant sea wash, which will be removed by the first sweep- 
ing freshet that rushes out of the river. The past winter, 1846- 
'47, having been unusually severe, and a heavy deposit of snow 
and ice resting on the mou'ntains and in the interior valleys, 
persons anticipate a great inundation in June, or as soon as the 
sun's rays attain power to convert this winter covering into 
fluid. This will unquestionably produce a new movement in 
the sands at the mouth of the river, and may perhaps render 
nugatory these directions for entering the river. 

The wind should not be to the northward of west, nor to the 
eastward of south. The beginning of the summer sea breeze 
is generally at WSW., which is the most favorable quarter. 
Bring Cape Disappointment to bear NE. by N., catch an object 
in range on the high land behind it, (in order to correct the 
influence of the tide,) and stand for it on that bearing until the 
middle of Cockscomb hill is fully on with Point Adams — you 
will then be in 10 fathoms, a fathom more or less depending 
on the stage of the tide. Now steer ENE., or for Point Ellice, 
taking care to fix that also in range, and keep it on with some 
object in the distant high land in the rear — ^this course will 
gradually open Cockscomb hill with Point Adams, and will 
take you over the bar in four and a half fathoms water, deep- 
ening to five and six if you are exactly in the channel. If the 
tide be flood, and you shoal the water, you are probably too 
near the north breaker, and will find it necessary to observe 
strictly the Point Ellice range, which will inform you how you 
are afifected by the tide. As you advance in, look along the 
northern shore for the first yellow bank or bluff which opens 
from behind the cape ; and if it be ebb tide, haul up immediately 
NNE. ; but if it be flood or slack water, NE. will do, and stana 
on that course until the next point opens, which is called Snag 
point ; then steer direct for the cape and Snag point in range, 
which is N. by W. ^ W. by compass. Passing a little to the 
eastward of this range, will open another seeming point, 
marked i'n summer by a growth of alder trees of unusually dark 

18 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

green hue, (in winter they are more brown tha'n the adjacent 
forest,) which has attained the name of Green point; beyond 
this range a vessel .should not pass to the eastward, or the 
middle sands will abruptly bring her up. If it be flood tide 
you may pass within fifty yards of the cape; and even if it be 
full calm, the current will take you to an anchorage ; but if it be 
ebb, keep a short quarter of a mile from the cape, as you are 
almost sure to be becalmed, and the tide runs out to the west- 
ward here at least five knots ; if you lose the wind at this point, 
you must instantly let go an anchor, and, veering a good scope 
of cable, await a change of tide. The best anchorage is the 
cape bearing SSE., or on with Killimuk's Head, distaiit about 
five hundred yards, in five fathoms water. If a stra'nger reach 
this point in safety, he had better remain here until either of 
the Indians, George or Ramsay, be sent for, or he can procure 
advice from some one familiar with the navigation hence to 
Astoria. From appearances on the chart, he would suppose 
this navigation very simple, but the strong and diverse cur- 
rents make it extremely embarrassing and dangerous ; and 
should a vessel ground anywhere within fifteen miles of the 
outer bar, and a strong wind arise, the swell is sufficiently 
great and the bottom hard enough to bilge her; none but a 
buoyant and fast pulling boat should be sent to sound about the 
bar, as the tide occasionally runs with an irresistible force ; and, 
in spite of all efforts, would sweep an indifferent boat i'nto the 

Five fathoms can be carried at low water up to Astoria, 
which is the first anchorage combining comfort and security; 
three-quarters of a mile above that, is a narrow pass of only 
thirteen feet; but from Baker's bay, (pursuing the Chinook 
channel, which passes close to Point Ellice, and is more direct 
and convenient for vessels bound straight up,) four fathoms 
can be carried up to Tongue point, which is three miles above 
Astoria; and just within, or to the westward of. Tongue point 
is a spacious and safe anchorage. From Tongue point the 
navigation for ten miles is extremely intricate, and some parts 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 19 

of the tortuous channel not over ten feet deep at low water. 
The straight channel which Captain Wilkes discovered has be- 
come obstructed about its eastern entrance, and nothing can be 
made of it. A channel nearly parallel with it, but to the south- 
ward, was traced in my boats, and I devoted a day to its ex- 
amination, and carried through three fathoms at low water; 
but my buoys being submerged by the tide, prevented me from 
testing its availability in the schooner. From Pillow rock the 
channel is at least three fathoms deep at the dryest season all 
the way to Fort Vancouver, except a bar of fifteen feet at 
the lower mouth of the Wilhammette, and another about a mile 
and a half below the fort. The Wilhammette enters the Co- 
lumbia from the southward by two mouths, fourteen miles 
apart; the upper is the only one used, and six miles below 
Vancouver. Throughout the months of August and Septem- 
ber, it is impracticable for vessels drawing over ten feet. Both 
it and the Columbia, during the other months, will easily ac- 
commodate a vessel to back and fill drawing thirteen feet. 

The Columbia is navigable to the Cascades, forty miles 
above Vancouver; the Wilhammette up to the mouth of the 
Clackamas river, twenty-one miles above its junction with the 
Columbia, and three below the falls, where the city of Oregon 
is located. These rivers reciprocally contribute their waters 
to one another at different seasons of the year. When the 
winter sets in, generally with the month of October, and rains 
are almost incessant, the Wilhammette river receives all the 
waters which drain from the valley of its name, which imme- 
diately raise it above the level of the Columbia, into which it 
flows with a strong current, causing a rise in the latter, and 
sometimes a ge'ntle reflux of the waters up stream ; this con- 
tinues until March, when the rains cease and the Wilhammette 
settles to its level. 'Tis then, however, the warm rays of the sun 
begin to penetrate the more northern and frozen resources of 
the Columbia; the mountain snow and ice are soon converted 
i'nto streams, which simultaneously contribute, along a course of 
seven or eight hundred miles, to swell this majestic river until. 

20 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

by the month of June, it attains its greatest force and volume; it 
is then actually a tributary to the Wilhammette, forcing its wa- 
ters back to the falls and causing a perceptible current in that di- 
rection. This rise in the Columbia is, however, like freshets 
in the Mississippi, not perceptible on the bar at the mouth, 
except to extend the time aVid increase the force of the ebb 
tide; at Vancouver the average summer rise is 16 to 18 feet. 

The most suitable sailing vessels for this navigation are brig 
or barque rig, and of light draught of water — not to exceed, 
when loaded, 13 feet. They should be well found in ground 
tackling, and furnished with at least two good sized hawsers 
and kedges of suitable weight. During the summer months the 
prevailing westerly winds make the voyage up the river both 
safe and quick, a'nd a vessel may descend at that season with 
the assistance of the downward current without much deten- 
tion ; but in winter both wind and tide are generally from the 
eastward, and forty-five days is the usual time to get to Van- 
couver; and this can only be dorie by warping, a very laborious 
operation for merchant vessels. I have beeii thus prolix in 
speaking of these two rivers, as they are the arteries of life to 
this country ; indeed, I have no information touching points 
distant from their banks which has not already been published 
to the world by means vastly more competent than any in my 
possession. Besides, the i'nformation desired of me was more 
particularly in relation to the civilized inhabitants of Oregon; 
and very few of these are found settled, as yet, any great dis- 
tance from the rivers. 

Of Puget's sound and its many harbors nothing more is 
known or can be at present added to Wilkes's observations in 

English jealousy a'nd unoccupied country in the south have 
interposed to prevent American emigration to the north side 
of the Columbia until the last autumn. 

I fell in with many persons exploring the country between 
the Cowlitz river (which is navigable by boats thirty miles 
from the Columbia in the line of route to Puget's sound) and 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 21 

the seacoast, and that hitherto unknown region is represented 
as offering many attractions to the new settler, x^ few scatter- 
ing families are to be found 'north of the Columbia and else- 
where. I saw personally but little of Oregon, but that com- 
prised its most interesting parts, viz : all settled spots on the 
Columbia below the Cascades, the Wilhammette valley for 
sixty miles above Oregon city, and the Twality and Clatsop 
plains. These, with the exception of superannuated missionary 
establishments at the Dalles and Wallawalla, and the Hudson's 
Bay Company's farm on the Cowlitz, and their distant trading 
posts in different parts of the Territory, are the only portions 
of the country yet occupied. All these united, however, make 
but an item when compared with the vast whole of Oregon, 
of whose topography, mineralogy, soil, or natural productions, 
it would be affectatio'n in me to offer any account. My report, 
as far as it goes, shall be confined to subjects which my own 
observations or verbal inquiries from authentic sources could 
reach. And first in order and importance is of the people who 
form the body politic here, their laws, &c. 

The persons of any consideration who have been longest 
settled in Oregon are the factors, clerks and servants of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. Their first point of residence was at 
Astoria ; but the country hereabouts was forest land, and dif- 
ficult to clear, and it became necessary to increase their re- 
sources of provisions and other domestic productions as their 
establishments enlarged. About twenty-two years ago, leaving 
a single trader to conduct the fur trade at Astoria, they made 
a new settlement 96 miles up the river, and called it Vancouver. 
This eligible site is the first prairie land found upon the banks 
of the river sufficiently elevated to be secure from the summer 
inundations. The control of all the company's affairs west of 
the Rocky mountains was at that time, and continued until 
1845, to be in the hands of Mr. Johb McLaughlin. As this 
gentleman figures largely in the first settlement of the country, 
and continues to occupy a most respectable and influential stand 
there, it may be proper to describe him. He is a native of 

22 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

Canada, but born of Irish parents ; his name is seldom spelt 
aright by any oiie but himself ; he is well educated, and, hav- 
ing studied medicine, acquired the title of doctor, which is now 
universally applied to him. Of fine form, great strength, and 
bold and fearless character, he was of all men best suited to 
lead and control those Canadian adventurers, who, influenced 
partly by hopes of profit, but still more by a spirit of romance 
enlisted themselves i'n the service of the fur trading companies, 
to traverse the unexplored country west and north of Hudson's 
bay. He came, I think, as early as 1820 to assume the direc- 
tion of the Hudson's Bay Company's interest west of the 
Rocky mountains, and immediately organized the necessary 
trading posts among the Indians of Oregon and those on the 
more northerly coasts.^ He continued to maintain the super- 
intendence of this increasing and most profitable trade, and by 
judicious selections of assistants, the exercise of a profound 
and huma'ne policy towards the Indians, and unremitting stead- 
iness and energy in the execution of his duties, placed the 
power and prosperity of his employers upon a safe and lasting 
foundation. So much of his early life was passed away in the 
canoe and the camp, that he seems to have been prevented from 
cultivating those social relations at home which have their 
finale i'n matrimonial felicity, and (as was customary among 
his brethren of that day similarly employed) he rather uncere- 
moniously graced the solitude of his camp with the society of a 
gentle half-breed from the borders of lake Superior. This lady 
occasionally presented him a pledge of her afifection and fidel- 
ity, of whom two sons and a daughter survive, and I believe 
before her death was regularly married to the doctor, whose 
example in this particular was followed by all the other offi- 
cers of the Hudson's Bay Company who had acquired the 
responsibility of parents. The doctor's oldest son, Joseph, is 
a respectable land owner and farmer in the Wilhammette ; his 
daughter, the widow of a deceased Scotchman ; and the other 
son, David, who received his education at Woolwich, in Eng- 

I. He came in 1824. 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 23 

land, is engaged in commercial business with an American 
named Pettygrove, of whom something will be said hereafter. 
The doctor's present wife is a half-breed, the widow of one 
McKay, a celebrated old trapper, who came out with Astor's 
people in 1810, and was killed o'n board the ship Tonquin the 
same year. 

The doctor is now about seventy years of age; is still strong 
and active, of robust figure and rosy complexion, with clear 
gray eyes, surmounted by huge brows and a full head of hair, 
white as snow. He is a strict professor of the Catholic religion. 
He resides now altogether at Oregon city ; is said to be on fur- 
lough from duty in the company's service, and devotes him- 
self to the operation of a fine flour aiid saw-mill which he has 
built at the falls. He is active and indefatigable, and has by 
his advice and assistance done more than any other man to- 
wards the rapid development of the resources of this country ; 
and although his influence among his own countrymen, some 
few of the most respectable America'n settlers, and throughout 
the half-breed and Indian population, is unbounded, he is not 
very popular with the bulk of the American population. Some 
complaints against him of an overbearing temper, and a dis- 
position to aggrandizement increasing with his age, seem not 
to be entirely groundless. He is, nevertheless, to be considered a 
valuable man ; has settled himself on the south side of the river, 
with full expectation of becoming a citizen of the United 
States, and I hope the government at home will duly appre- 
ciate him.^ With Dr. McLaughlin came many others engaged 
in the Hudson's Bay Company's service ; and these, as before 
remarked, are now the longest settled residents of the land. 
Few of those who filled eve'n so high a post as that of clerk 
have separated themselves from the company's service and 
still continue to reside in the Territory ; but of the boatmen, 
trappers, farmers, and stewards, almost every one, upon the 
expiration of his five years' service, fixed himself upon a piece 
of land and became a cultivator. 

2. This wish of Lieutenant Howison was not gratified. Section eleven of the 
Oregon Donation Land Law of 1850 dispossessed Dr. McLoughlin of his claim 
known as the "Oregon City Claim." 

24 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

By far the greater part of these are Canadian voyagers, or 
those who worked out their term of service in pulling bat- 
teaux and canoes along the water-courses, which are almost 
continuous from York factory, on Hudson's bay, to the shores 
of the Pacific ocean. Eight or ten of these persons being annu- 
ally discharged for twenty years, have become a large item in 
the population of Oregon. They settled contiguous to each 
other on the fine lands of the Wilhammette, about 30 miles 
above the falls, and form now a large majority in Champoeg 
county; their residence is called the French Settlement, and 
Canadian French is their language. Besides, there are a few 
prosperous cultivators adjacent to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany's farm on the Cowlitz. They are all connected with 
Indian women, and would have united themselves with the tribes 
to which their women belong but for the advice of Dr. Mc- 
Laughli'n, whose influence induced them to assume the more 
civilized and respectable life of the farmer. They are a simple, 
uneducated people, but very industrious and orderly, and are 
justly esteemed among the best citizens of the Territory. They 
come under the general designation of half-breeds, and this 
class of population, including all ages and sexes, may be com- 
puted, numerically, at seven or eight hundred. They are well 
worthy the fostering care of the govertiment, and have been 
assured that they will not be excepted by any general law of 
the United States in relation to Oregon land claims or pre- 
emption rights. If, unfortunately, their rights of property 
should not be protected by laws of the United States, they 
will soon be intruded on and forced from the lands. Falling 
back upon the Indian tribes with a sense of injury rankling in 
their bosoms, the consequence might in all time to come be 
most deplorable for the peace and safety of this country ; where, 
from the sparseness of the population, a band of forty or fifty 
blood-thirsty savages might surprise and destroy i'n rotation 
hundreds of inhabitants. 

Simultaneously with the Canadians were discharged from 
the company's service other subjects of Great Britain, as farm- 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 25 

ers, mechanics, gardeners, dairymen, &c., chiefly from Scot- 
land and the Orkney isles ; besides some of the wild offspring 
from the Earl of Selkirk's emigrants to the Red River settle- 
ment, north of the lake of the Woods. A few American 
hu'nters, not numbering over 12 or 15, straggled into the coun- 
try about the same time, and occasionally runaway seamen from 
our northwest traders. This heterogeneous population was, 
in some way or other, to a man, dependent on the Hudson's 
Bay Company. No important accessions to it occurred until 
the American missionaries, with their families, came into the 
cou'ntry ; nor do I believe, prior to 1836, a single zuhite woman 
lived here. It was not until the year 1839 that any regular 
emigrating companies came out from the United States ; and 
these were small until 1842, when an annual tide of thousands 
began to flow towards this western window of our republic. 

From the best information I could procure, the whole pop- 
ulation of Oregon, exclusive of thoroughbred Indians, whom 
I would be always understood to omit, may be set down now 
at nine thousand souls, of whom two thousand are not natives 
of the United States, or descendants of native Americans. 
Nearly all the inhabitants, except those connected with the 
Hudsdn's Bay Company, are settled in the Wilhammette valley; 
the extreme southern cottag'e being on Mary's river, about 
one hundred miles from the Columbia. Twenty or thirty fam- 
ilies are at Astoria and the Clatsop plains ; and by this time, 
there may be as many on the north side of the river, in the 
neighborhood of Nisqually a'nd other ports on Puget's sound. 

Between Astoria and Fort Vancouver, but o'ne white man 
resides on the bank of the river for purposes of cultivation; 
and he is a retired officer of the Hudson's Bay Company, named 
Birnie, who has fixed himself 25 miles above Astoria. His 
house is the seat of hospitality, and his large family of quarter- 
breeds are highly respectable and well behaved. From Fort 
Vancouver to the Cascades, forty miles, but a single family has 
yet settled on either side of the river. Lieut. Schenck, who 
went up to the Dalles, had nothing to add to Captian Wilkes's 

26 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

account of this point of the country. He was hourly impressed 
with the strict accuracy of that officer's observations. 

The people of Oregon had lived without law or politics, until 
the early part of 1845^ ; and it is a strong evidence of their good 
sense and good disposition that it had not previously been found 
necessary to establish some restraints of law fn a community of 
several thousand people. Among the emigrants of this year, 
however, were many intelligent reflecting minds, who plainly 
saw that this order of things could not continue in a rapidly 
increasing and bustling populatio'n ; and that it had become in- 
dispensable to establish legal landmarks to secure property to 
those already in its possession, and point to new comers a mode 
of acquiring it. A convention was accordingly held, and a 
majority of votes taken in favor of establishing a provisional 
government, "until such time as the United States of America 
extend their jurisdiction over us." The organic law or con- 
stitution was of course first framed, and made abundantly dem- 
ocratic in its character for the taste of the most ultra disciple of 
that political school. 

It makes the male descendants of a white man 21 years of 
age, no matter of what colored woman begotten, eligible for 
any office in the Territory; and grants every such person the 
privilege of selecting six hundred and forty acres of land, "in 
a square or oblong form, according to the natural situation of 
the premises." It provides for the election of a governor and 
other officers, civil and military, and makes it the duty of such 
elected to take the following oath : 

"I do solemnly swear to support the organic laws of Oregon, 
as far as they are consistent with my duties as a citizen of the 
United States, or as a subject of Great Britain, and faithfully 
demean myself in office ; so help me God." 

One of the first enactments of the legislature elected under 
the organic law, was, "that in addition to gold and silver, treas- 
ury drafts, and good merchantable wheat at the market price, 
shall be a lawful tender." 

3. Lieutenant Howison is hardly correct in this statement, as a fairly com- 
plete political organization was effected in 1843. In 1845 the governmental author- 
ity was made more adequate. 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 27 

The subject of forming this provisional government had been 
several months, indeed years, under discussion, and may be 
considered the first political question canvassed within the Ter- 
ritory. It was opposed by the influence of the Hudson's Bay 
Company and British subjects generally, although the chief 
factors of that company were ready to enter into a compact 
or domestic treaty for the regulation and adjustment of all 
points of dispute or difference which might spring up among 
the residents : indeed, they admitted that it was time to estab- 
lish some rules, based upon public opinion, decidedly expressed, 
for the maintenance of good order and individual rights ; but 
they felt apprehensive for themselves and their interests in 
placing extensive law-making power in the hands of a legis- 
lative body, composed of men on whose judgment they could 
not implicitly rely, and whose prejudices they had reason to 
believe were daily increasi'ng against them. Their opposition 
was, however, unavailing. 

The election for governor excited the same sort of party 
array ; but, as there were several candidates for this office, some 
new considerations may be supposed to have mingled in the con- 
test. George Abernethy, esq., a whole-souled American gentle- 
man, was elected by a majority of the whole ; nor did he re- 
ceive any support from those under the company's influence. 
This gentleman came to Oregon as secular agent to the Meth- 
odist mission in 1838 or '39, and, at the dissolution of that body, 
engaged in mercantile and milling business. He is very ex- 
tensively acquainted with the country atid people of Oregon, 
and greatly respected for his amiable, consistent and patriotic 
character. He is a native of New York, and married a lady 
of Nova Scotia, and will make a valuable correspondent to the 
United States government, should it be desirable to communi- 
cate with Oregon. 

Among the components of the population are some few 
blacks, (perhaps thirty,) and about double that number of 
Kanakas or Sandwich islanders. These last act as cooks and 
house servants to those who can afford to employ them. Al- 

28 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

though the population has quadrupled itself within seven years 
past, and will doubtless continue to increase, it cannot be ex- 
pected to do so at the past ratio. 

Califot'nia invites many off who are seeking new lands ; and 
the emigrants of 1846 who reached Oregon were not computed 
at over seven hundred, while the two previous years had each 
increased the population two thousand or more. 

The privations and sufferings of the first overland emigrants 
to this country are almost incredible, composed, as they were, 
of persons who, with families of women and children, had 
gathered together their all, and appropriated it to the purchase 
of mea'ns to accomplish this protracted journey. 

They would arrive upon the waters of the Columbia after 
six months' hard labor and exposure to innumerable dangers, 
which none but the most determined spirits could have sur- 
mounted, in a state of absolute want. Their provisions ex- 
pended and clothes worn out, the rigors of winter beginning 
to desce'nd upon their naked heads, while no house had yet 
been built to afford them shelter ; bartering away their wagons 
and horses for a few salmon, dried by the Indians, or bushels 
of grain in the hands of rapacious speculators, who placed 
themselves on the road to profit by their necessities, famine 
was staved off while they labored in the woods to make rafts, 
and thus float down stream to the Hudson's Bay Company's 
establishment at Vancouver. Here shelter a*nd food were in- 
variably afforded them, without which their sufferings must 
soon have terminated in death. 

Such was the wretched plight in which I may say thousands 
found themselves upon reaching this new country ; but, in the 
midst of present want and distress, the hardy pioneer saw 
around him all those elements of comfort ahd wealth which 
high hope had placed at the terminus of this most trying jour- 
ney. At Vancouver he found repose and refreshment, the 
offerings of a disinterested benevolence. Aided by advice and 
still more substantial assistance, he prosecuted his journey up 
the Wilhammette, and on the banks of this river could make 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 29 

choice of his future home, from the midst of situatidns the 
most advantageous and lovely. Here stood the ash, the pine 
and the poplar — the ready materials which an Illinois man, 
axe in hand, wants but a few hours to convert into a family 
domicil; the river teemed with fine salmon, and the soil was 
rich, promising fruitful returns for labor bestowed on it. 

But throughout the winter these eiiterprising people were, 
with few exceptions, dependent on the Hudson's Bay Company 
for the bread and meat which they ate, and the clothes which 
they wore ; stern necessities, and the clamors of suffering chil- 
dren, forced them to supplicate credit and assistance, which, to 
the honor of the company be it said, was never refused. Fear- 
ful, however, of demanding too much, many families told me 
that they lived during the winter on nothing more than boiled 
wheat and salted salmon ; and that the head of the family had 
prepared the land for his first crop without shoes on his feet, or 
a hat on his head. These excessive hardships have been of 
course hourly ameliorating; the emigrant of 1843 has pre- 
pared a house and surplus food for his countrymen of the 
next year ; a'nd two roads being opened directly into the Wil- 
hammette valley, rendering a resort to the Columbia unneces- 
sary, has enabled the emigrants to bring in their wagons, horses 
and cattle, and find homes among their own countrymen. 

The apprehensions of want are no longer entertained; the 
new arrivals improve in character and condition; a cash cur- 
rency is likely soon to be the law of the land, and the houses 
are more and more fashioned to convenience, with an occasional 
attempt at nicety. The Hudso'n's Bay Company is no longer 
begged for charity, or besought for credit; but is slowly re- 
ceiving back its generous loans and advances. 

But I am sorry, in connexion with this subject, to report that 
the conduct of some of our countrymen towards the company 
has been highly reprehensible. The helping hand held out by 
the company to the early American emigra'nts not only relieved 
them from actual distress at a critical moment, but furnished 
them with means to make a beginning at cultivation, and un- 

30 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

questionably accelerated the growth and settlement of the coun- 
try in a manner which could not have succeeded but for such 
timely assistance. The missionaries are not, however, to be for- 
gotten ; they did much for the early emigrants, but their means 
were more limited. I was told at Vancouver that the amount 
of debt due the company by Americans exceeded eighty thou- 
sand dollars; and that so little disposition was shown to pay 
off this debt, that it had been determined to refuse any further 

Some few persons, arriving here with titles and pretensions, 
had obtained credit for more than a thousand dollars; and 
these very men, since further credit had been refused, were 
foremost and most violent in denouncing the company as a 
monstrous monopoly, &c. 

The bulk of this debt, however, is due in sums of from twenty 
to two hundred dollars, and seems to be the cause of no un- 
easiness to the officers of the company, who told me they were 
often surprised by the appearance (after an absence of years) 
of some debtor who came forward to liquidate the claim against 
him. Much of this large amount will probably be lost to the 
company ; but there is some reason to presume that the larger 
credits were granted to individuals whose political influence 
was thus sought to be procured ; and that the company, in this 
respect, should have made false calculations, and lost their 
money, is not so much to be regretted. 

The honor of enrolling the names of doctors, colonels, gen- 
erals and judges upon the debtor side of the ledger, they may 
also consider a partial indemnification for what they may event- 
ually lose. 

However unlimited, therefore, may be our gratitude for 
their kindness to the needy emigrants in earlier years, we can- 
not suppose it was necessary of late to have been so profuse in 
such grants ; and I have no doubt their determination tO' with- 
hold further credits will prove advantageous to both parties. 
The country is now so generally settled, and furnishes so much 
surplus, as to enable the people to supply the indispensable 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 31 

necessities of each other; among whom obligations of small 
debts will be mutual, and not dnerous. Of the politics of the 
people of Oregon, it may be said they are thoroughly demo- 
cratic; but, although I doubt not every American was a warm 
party man at home, a separation from the scene of contest has 
had the effect to cool down his feelings on the subject; and, 
as he no longer has the privilege of a vote in national elections, 
the subject engrosses but little attehtion. Some individuals 
were named to me who had, while discussing the propriety of 
forming a provisional government, been disposed to advocate 
an entire independence of the United States; but as matters 
have resulted, they have almost to a man changed their opin- 
ions, and are how displaying more than ordinary patriotism 
and devotion to the stars and stripes. 

Of the British subjects, who form but a fraction of the whole 
population, I can say but little, as in my intercourse with 
them national affairs were but little spoken of. Nearly every 
one of them is or has been in the service of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, and ehtertains a becoming reverence for his coim- 
try ; but I heard many of the most respectable express the opin- 
ion that the resources of Oregon would be much more rapidly 
made available under the auspices of the United States gov- 
ernment than under that of Great Britain. 

The next most prominent British subject to Dr. McLaughlin 
is Mr. James Douglass, a Scotchman of fi'ne talents and char- 
acter. He has been on this side the mountains since 1825 or 
'26, and has gone through the probationary grades in the 
company's service, and now has the control, associated with 
Mr. Peter Skeen Ogden, of the ,whole business in Oregon and 
o'n the Northwest coast. He has a large family of quarter- 
breeds: a daughter of fifteen, with whose education and man- 
ners he has taken much pains, would compare, for beauty and 
accomplishments, with those of her age in any country. Mr. 
Ogden is senior to Mr. Douglass in the company's service ; he 
has been, until recently, the active agent ib exploring the coun- 
try and establishing trading posts ; and although he is not with- 

32 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

out those tender ties which it is the weakness of humanity to 
yearn after, they have not yet been legitimated by marriage. 
A handsome, lady-Hke daughter of his is married to a Scotch- 
man, and these in turn have a family of childreii. Mr. Ogden is 
a jocose and pleasing companion ; has at least one brother liv- 
ing in New York, but says he was born on the lines between 
New York and Canada. I mention the domestic relations of 
these gentlemen with reluctance; but it is necessary, to illus- 
trate how completely their interests and affectio'ns are fixed 
upon things inseparable from Oregon. This remark will apply 
to every Englishman who has been five years in the country ; 
and although when news of the boundary treaty arrived they 
undoubtedly were much mortified, they soon recovered their 
composure, and, I believe, were very well satisfied with their 
future prospects. Mr. Douglass, loyal to his king and country 
from principle, observed that "John Bull could well afford to 
be liberal to so promising a son as Jonathan, for the latter had 
given proofs of abilities to turn a good gift to the best ac- 
count." I cannot but suppose that, before the expiration of 
the company's trading privileges here, the very respectable and 
intelligent body of men engaged in conducting its business 
will become blended with us in citizenship, and good members 
of our great democratic society. The number of British sub- 
jects throughout this Territory does not exceed six hundred, 
exclusive of French Canadians, and this number is not increas- 
ing. With three days' notice, double that number of Ameri- 
cans, well mounted and armed with rifles, could be assembled 
at a given point on the Wilhammette river. In the excited 
state of public feeling which existed among the Americans 
upon my arrival, the settled conviction on the mind of every 
one that all Oregon belonged to us, and that the English had 
long enough been glea'ning its products, I soon discovered that, 
so far from arousing new zeal and patriotism, it was my duty 
to use any influence which my official character put me in 
possession of to allay its exuberance, and advise our country- 
men to await patiently the progress of negotiations at home. 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 33 

The Hudson's Bay Company had information of consultations 
held on the south side of the river, in which the agrarian prin- 
ciple of division of property found some advocates, and per- 
haps they had some grounds to apprehend that their extensive 
storehouses of dry goods, hardware and groceries might be 
invaded ; in addition, therefore, to their own means of defence, 
they procured from the British government the constant at- 
tendance at Vancouver of a sloop-of-war. This vessel an- 
chored there in October, 1845, and I left her there in January, 
1847. She, however, I understood, was under orders to leave 
the river, and her commander, who had once struck on the 
bar, and narrowly escaped with the loss of false keel and rud- 
der, only awaited the good weather of spring to attempt to get 

The company's agents expressed to me their fervent hopes 
that the United States would keep a vessel of war in the river, 
or promptly send out commissioners to define the bounds of 
right and property under the treaty. They have been exces- 
sively annoyed by some of our countrymen, who, with but 
little judgment and less delicacy, are in the habit of infringing 
upon their lahds, and construing the law to bear them out in 
doing so. An individual, and a professor of religion, too, had 
been ejected by our course of law from a "claim" of the com- 
pany's, and costs put upon him ; but having nothing, the costs 
had to be paid by the plaintiffs ; which was scarcely done when 
the same person resumed his intrusive position ; and as he called 
himself now a "fresh man," the same formula of law must 
be gone through with to get clear of him, and so on ad infini- 
tum. In a case where an American was confined one night in 
the fort for this sort of pertinacity, and refusing to give secur- 
ity that he would forbear in future such forcible entry upon the 
land, he instituted an action for damages for false imprison- 
ment; but as no notice of suit had been served on the commit- 
ting magistrate, and as I expostulated with the man on the sub- 
ject, I believe he gave over the idea. These and many other 
similar acts arose from a belief that the Hudson's Bay Com- 

34 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

pany would be soon turned out of the country by the terms of 
the anticipated treaty, and many were led to this offensive 
course by a desire to succeed to those advantages which could 
not be conveyed away by the retiring company. Since the de- 
tails of the treaty have come to hand, it is to be presumed a 
better understanding of respective permanent rights will be 
entertained; but I feel bound to express the opinion, for the 
information of government, that however acceptable that treaty 
may be to the people generally, some of its items give great 
discontent and heart-burnings in Oregon. Howsoever little 
creditable this may be to the good sense and moderation of 
the complainants, it may be accounted for by reference to the 
fact that in every community some of its members are unrea- 
sonable enough to act upo'n a one-sided view of the subject. 
In this particular case several causes unite to excite dissatis- 
faction: first, disappointment at not having a grasp at the en- 
closed fields and ready-made habitations which they had all 
along expected the treaty would oblige the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany to vacate; next, the hoped-for dissolution of this com- 
pany would have relieved many persons from the presence of 
their creditors ; and others saw that only in that event would 
Americans be able to engage successfully in commercial pur- 
suits. But although too many were influenced by motives so 
unworthy, yet it must not be supposed I would include among 
them the substantial cultivator, or any one of the great bulk 
of ho'nest emigrants who came here to live by his labor, and 
not by his artifice or speculating genius, which would render 
the labors of others subservient to his use. 

These discontents might not be worth alluding to, did we 
not remember from what small beginnings political parties 
sometimes take their rise ; and this may be the nucleus of a 
growth of independents, who may compromise our government 
in its stipulations for the security of English property in Ore- 
gon, to say nothing of the effect produced upon public opinion 
by the habit of seeing always on the increase a party opposing 
the policy and measures of the United States. It should be 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 35 

nevertheless observed that in Oregon the general tendency of 
persons and things is towards improvement; the ragged and 
penniless emigrant is, upon his arrival here, much less under 
the influence of human or moral laws than the same man is 
found to be a couple of years afterwards, when he has acquired 
a house over his head and fenced in an enclosure for his cattle. 
Becoming a property-holder instantly inspires him with a rever- 
ence for the law, and he sees by supporting its inviolability 
he can alone make sure of retaining the means of independence 
and comfort which it has cost him two years' labor to obtain. 
The Hudson's Bay Company, from its having been so long 
established in the country; from the judicious selection it has 
made of sites for trading, agricultural and manufacturing pur- 
poses ; from the number of persons and large moneyed capital 
employed, and most of all from the far-sighted sagacity with 
which its business is conducted, in some way or other involves 
itself in every matter of consequence relating to this country ; 
nor is it possible to avoid introducing it as bearing upon all 
points worth bringing to the notice of government. The terms 
of the treaty exemplify how ably its interests have been repre- 
sented in London, and the immunities it enjoys by that instru- 
ment will, I apprehend, make it more the object of jealousy and 
dislike to our citizens here than it has hitherto been. 

However long and tedious this report has already become, 
my inclination to terminate it must give way to a sense of duty, 
while I describe as briefly as possible all that I could see or 
learn about this company. Its original charter, granting ex- 
clusive trade for furs around Hudson's bay, was extended to 
other trade west of the Rocky mountains ; and the privilege 
of raising from the soil whatever was necessary for their 
comfortable maintenance, in the prosecution of this trade, was 
likewise granted; but in reading its charter and the laws sub- 
sequently enacted in relation to its interests, it is very mani- 
fest that it was only considered an associatio'n of capitalists 
for purposes of trade. 

36 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

The Puget's Sound Agricultural Company is merely a nom- 
inal affair, being only a new name with new privileges, under 
which the capital of persons belonging to the Hudson's Bay 
Company is turned into profit. It would be difficult to get 
exactly at the true relationship between it and the other, as the 
parties who manage them are the same, and they have endeav- 
ored to make them appear as separate interests. When, there- 
fore, a new farm is taken possession of, stocked and put under 
cultivation, or a fine mill erected and put into profitable opera- 
tion, these are acts and privileges of the agricultural society; 
but when the products of these establishments are ready for a 
market, the company, with trading privileges, takes them in 
hand. As before stated, persons wishing to hold land under 
the provisional government, having selected the same, were re- 
quired to mark out its limits, and have it recorded by a person 
selected to keep a book of all such entries. Lands thus marked 
out were called "claims" ; and in compliance with this require- 
ment, the Hudson's Bay Company had entered all their landed 
property in the names of their officers and clerks; they have 
omitted no means or forms necessary to secure them in their 
possessions. Fort Vancouver is surrounded by 18 EngHsh 
"claims," viz : nine miles on the river and two back ; and besides 
the dwelling houses, storehouses and shops in the fort, they 
have a flour mill a few miles up the river, and above that again 
a saw mill. The Vancouver grounds are principally appropri- 
ated to grazing cattle, horses, sheep and hogs. On the Cowlitz 
the company has a large wheat-growing farm, and I believe 
these are the only land claims they have below the mountains. 
They have, besides, a post on the Umpqua. Around their posts 
at Fort Hall, Boise, and on the northern branches of the river, 
they have hitherto enclosed no more ground than was neces- 
sary for garden purposes; but finding themselves confirrned 
by treaty in their hold upon property "legally acquired," God 
knows what may be the extent of their claims when a definite 
line comes to be drawn. The company have three barques, 
employed freighting hehce to England and back, via the Sand- 
wich islands, besides a schooner and small steamer in the trade 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 37 

of the northwest coast. They supply the Russian establishment 
at Sitka annually with 15,000 bushels of wheat, and sell them 
besides, I am told, some furs. The trade in this latter article 
has become of late years much less profitable than formerly ; 
and it is said to have so far dwindled in amount as to be scarce- 
ly worth pursuing^; but as no statistical reports of profits, or 
extent of trade, are ever published by the company, it is not 
possible to say with accuracy what they are doing;. In April, 
1846, a report reached Oahu that the company's barque Cowlitz 
had, after leaving the Sandwich islands for England, been run 
away with by the crew, and Mr. Pelly, the company's agent, 
immediately issued advertisements, making it known, and call- 
ing on commanders of ships of war to intercept her. He told 
me on that occasion that the barque's cargo of furs and specie 
(which was the usual annual remittance by the company) 
amounted to nearly two hundred thousand pounds sterling. The 
rumor about her turned out to have originated in a mistaken 
apprehension. Although it is well known that furs are not so 
abundant as formerly, they nevertheless still form an important 
article of trade, and this is entirely monopolized by the com- 
pany. Nearly every dollar of specie which comes into the coun- 
try — and there is more of it than might be supposed — finds its 
way sooner or later into the company's chests ; keeping, as they 
do, a very large stock o'n hand of all those articles most neces- 
sary to the new settler. Indeed, so extensive and well selected 
are their supplies, that few country towns in the United States 
could furnish their 'neighbors so satisfactorily. An annual ship- 
load arrives from London, which, with the old stock, makes an 
inventory of one hundred thousa'nd pounds. Goods are invari- 
ably sold at an advance of one hundred per cent on London 
prices ; which, taking their good quality into consideration, 
is cheaper than they are offered by the two or three Americans 
who are engaged in mercantile business in the country. 

The managers of this company, as I have before remarked, 
are sagacious, far-sighted men ; they hold the keys of trade, 
and establish the value of property and of labor, both of which 

38 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

they are too wise to depreciate unduly. They are complained 
of as powerful monopolists; but so long as their power is 
made subservient to general interests, as well as their own, 
and stands in the way of rapacious speculators, it avails a good 
purpose, and is cheerfully recog'nized by the good citizen. They 
certainly may be said to establish a standard of prices; and 
many persons think if they were withdrawn, more competition 
would arise among merchants, and higher prices would be given 
for produce ; but it should be remembered that their prices, 
those which they give and those which they take, are uniform, 
and not subject to those fluctuations which militate eventually 
against the producer. 

They would sell the last bushel of salt or pound of nails in 
their storehouses as the first had been sold ; not increasing the 
price as the article became less abundant in the market. They 
give sixty cents for an imperial bushel, or sixty-eight pounds of 
wheat ; one dollar apiece for flour barrels ; three dollars a thou- 
sand for shingles, and a corresponding price for other articles 
of country production. They see very plainly that in the pros- 
perity of others consists their own; and, acting upon this judi- 
cious principle, they are content with sure and moderate gains. 
I have heard general charges of extortion alleged against them, 
but without proof to sustain them. They have providentially 
been the instrument of much good to Oregon, as the early emi- 
grants can testify; and however objectionable it is on some 
grounds to have a large and powerful moneyed institution, con- 
trolled by foreigners, in the heart of this young America, its 
sudden withdrawal would be forcibly and disadvantageously 
felt throughout the land. In a few years, with a knowledge 
that the company is to withdraw, there will no doubt be a more 
enlarged system of trade entered upon by our jown merchants, 
which will eventually supply the place of the company. At 
present they ca"nnot well be spared, as will be more plainly seen 
by what I have to say of the commerce of Oregon. These re- 
marks about the Hudson's Bay Company are made under the 
impression, prevalent in Oregon — where the treaty itself had 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 39 

not arrived when I left, but only a synopsis of it — that the 
charter of the company would expire in 1863, and of course its 
privileges with it. If the facts be otherwise, and its existence 
as a corporate body, under British charter, is perpetual, my 
speculations about its officers becomi'ng American citizens are 
fallacious. Exclusive of the Hudson's Bay Company's imports, 
the external commerce of Oregon is of very limited extent ; it is 
a petty trade, not sufficiently systematized to be reducible to 
a statistical table, and I can give no better idea of its extent 
than to state that during the whole year of 1846 a barque of 
three hundred tons came twice from the Sandwich islands, 
bringing each time about half a cargo of dry goods, groceries, 
hardware, etc., bought at Oahu. A'n American ship was also 
in the river this year, but came in ballast for a freight of lum- 
ber, &c., to the islands. Three mercantile houses divide the 
business of the Territory, small as it is, and I believe each has 
a favorable balance on its side. The prices imposed in selling 
to the consumer are enormously high, and these he must pay 
from the produce of his labor, or dispense with the most neces- 
sary articles of clothing, cooking utensils, groceries and farm- 
ing impleme'nts. An American axe costs $5 ; a cross-cut saw, 
$15; all articles manufactured of iron 25 cents per pound, &c., 
&c. The impediments to commerce here are, first, the want of 
a fixed currency ; second, the remoteness of the foreign market 
and its uncertainty, and more particularly the hazardous nature 
of the navigation in and out of the river, and the tediousness 
of ascending and descending it. These last make the freight 
and premium on insurance very high, which adds to the cost 
of the imported article, and detracts proportionally from that 
which is offered in payment for it, and which, to realize any- 
thing, must be carried abroad. The misfortu'ne is, that these 
impediments create and depend upon each other, and are likely 
to continue, and painfully retard the growth of this promising 
country. If the commerce were more extensive, it would afford 
payment to pilots, and construct light-houses, beacons, and 
buoys, which would greatly diminish the risk and expense of 

40 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

getting vessels into the river; and again, if more means of 
transportation presented themselves, the surplus produce of the 
country would find a sale, and be conveyed to a foreign mar- 
ket — thus enabling the farmer, the miller, the sawyer, the 
shingle-maker, the gatherer of wool, and the packer of salted 
beef and pork, to share in the advantages of a more extended 
demand ; in short, some thousands of people in this country are 
suffering at this moment in consequence of the inadequate 
means of commercial exchange between it and its neighbors 
of California and the Sandwich islands. 

The granaries are surcharged with wheat ; the saw-mills are 
surrounded with piles of lumber as high as themselves; the 
grazier sells his beef at three cents per pound to the merchant, 
who packs it in salt and deposites it in a warehouse, awaiting 
the tardy arrival of some vessel to take a portion of his stock 
at what price she pleases, and furnish i'n return a scanty supply 
of tea and sugar and i'ndifferent clothing, also at her own rate. 
I feel it particularly my duty to call the attention of govern- 
ment to this subject. This feeble and distant portion, of itself, 
is vainly struggling to escape from burdens which, from the 
nature of things, must long continue to oppress it, unless par- 
ental assistance comes to its relief. The first measure tiecessary 
is to render the entrance and egress of vessels into the mouth of 
the Columbia as free from danger as possible ; and the first step 
towards this is to employ two competent pilots, who should 
reside at Cape Disappointment, be furnished with two Balti- 
more-built pilot boats, (for mutual assistance in case of accident 
to either,) and be paid a regular salary, besides the fees, which 
should be very moderate, imposed upon each entering vessel. 
A light-house, ahd some beacons with and without lights, would 
aid very much in giving confidence and security to vessels ap- 
proaching the river ; but more important than all these would of 
course be the presence, under good management, of a strong 
and well-built steam tug. The effects of these facilities would 
be to render certain, at least during the summer months, the 
coming in and going out of vessels, subtract from the premium 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 41 

on insurance, and give confidence to the seamen, who now enter 
for a voyage to Oregon with dread, reluctance and high wag-es. 
It is not for me to anticipate the boundless spring which the 
vivifying influence of an extended organized commerce would 
give to the growth and importance of this country ; its portrait 
has been drawn by abler hands, in books and in the Senate, but 
I must take leave to suggest that good policy requires the par- 
ent government to retain the affections of this hopeful offspring 
by attentions a'nd fostering care : it needs help at this moment ; 
and if it be rendered, a lasting sense of dependence and grati- 
tude will be the consequence ; but if neglected in this its tender 
age, and allowed to fight its own way to independent maturity, 
the ties of consa'nguinity may be forgotten in the energy of its 
own unaided exertions. 

Nisqually, the innermost harbor of Puget's sound, may at 
some future day become an important port for the exportation 
of produce from the north side of the river; but the inland 
transportation is at present impracticable for articles of more 
than a hundred pounds weight, on accouVit of the mountains 
and water-courses. No wagon road has yet been opened from 
an interior point to Nisqually. Its importance will increase 
with the settlement of the country around it, possessing, as it 
does, natural advantages exceeding those of any other port in 
the Territory. 

Besides Fort Vancouver, six sites have been selected for 
towns ; of these Astoria takes precedence in age only. It is 
situated on the left bank of the Columbia, thirteen miles from 
the sea: it contains ten houses, including a warehouse, Indian 
lodges, a cooper's and a blacksmith's shop ; it has no open 
ground except gardens within less than a mile of it. It may be 
considered in a state of transition, exhibiting the wretched re- 
mains of a bygone settlement, and the uncouth germ of a new 
one. About 30 white people live here, and two lodges of Chin- 
ook Indians. The Hudson's Bay Company have still an agent 
here, but were about transferring him over to a warehouse 
they are putting up at Cape Disappointrnent. A pre-emption 

42 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

right to the principal part of this site is claimed by an American 
named Welch; the other portion, including Point George, is 
claimed in like manner by Colonel John Maclure. Leavihg 
Astoria, we ascend the Columbia eighty miles, and there enter- 
ing the Wilhammette, find, three miles within its mouth, the 
city of Linton, on its left or western shore. This site was se- 
lected by a copartnership of gentlemen as the most natural de- 
pot for the produce of the well settled Twality plains, ahd a 
road was opened over the ridge of hills intervening between 
the plains a'nd the river. It contains only a few log-houses, 
which are overshadowed by huge fir trees that it has not yet 
been convenient to remove. Its few inhabitants are very poor, 
and severely persecuted by musquitos day and night. Not one 
of its proprietors resides on the spot, and its future increase 
is, to say the least, doubtful. Eight or nine miles above Linton, 
on the same side of the Wilhammette, we come to a more prom- 
ising appearance of a town. It has been named Portland by 
the individual under whose auspices it has come into existence, 
a'nd mainly to whose efforts its growth and increase are to be 
ascribed. This is Mr. F. W. Pettygrove, from Maine, who 
came out here some years back as agent for the mercantile 
house of the Messrs. Benson, of New York. Having done a 
good business for his employers, he next set about doing some- 
thing for himself, and is now the principal commercial man in 
the country. He selected Portland as the site of a town ac- 
cessible to shipping, built houses, a'nd established himself there ; 
invited others to settle around him, and appropriated his little 
capital to opening wagon roads (aided by neighboring farmers) 
into the Twality plains, and up the east side of the river to the 
falls where the city of Oregon stands. Twelve or fifteen new 
houses are already occupied, and others building; and, with a 
population of more thati sixty souls, the heads of families gen- 
erally industrious mechanics, its prospects of increase are fa- 
vorable. A good wharf, at which vessels may lie and discharge 
or take in cargo most months in the year, is also among the 
improvements of Portland. Twelve miles above we come to 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 43 

the falls of the Wilhammette, and abreast of and just below 
these, on the east side of the river, stands Oregon city. This 
is considered the capital of the Territory, contains seventy-odd 
houses, and has a population of nearly five hundred souls. The 
situation of this place is very peculiar : the river here is about 
eighty yards wide, and at its lowest stage is twelve feet deep ; 
in freshets it sometimes rises thirty feet above low-water mark. 
The rocky rampart, over which it falls almost perpendicularly, 
is perhaps forty feet high ; and from about its upper level, a 
narrow strip of level ground three hundred yards wide, (be- 
tween the bed of the river and a precipitous hilly ridge,) is the 
site of the town. This hilly range runs along down stream for 
nearly a mile, when it slopes off to the level of the river side 
plateau. The opposite side presents nearly the same features, 
so that the view in fro^t and rear abruptly terminates in a 
rocky mountain side of five or six hundred feet elevation. In 
a summer day the sun's rays reflected from these cliffs make 
the temperature high, and create an unpleasant sensation of 
confinement, which would be insupportable but for the refresh- 
ing influence of the waterfall; this, divided by reeky islets, 
breaks into flash and foam, imparting a delicious brightness to 
this otherwise sombre scenery. A Methodist and a Catholic 
church, two flour and saw mills, a tavern, a brick storehouse 
and several wooden ones, an iron foundry just beginning, and 
many snug dwelling houses, are at this moment the chief con- 
stituents of the capital of Oregob. The site on the opposite side 
of the river, upon which some good buildings are beginning to 
appear, is called Multnomah. Communication is kept up be- 
tween these tv/o places by two ferry boats. Dr. McLaughlin 
claims the square mile which includes Oregon city on one side, 
and an American named Moore claims an equal extent on the 
other side. The doctor has fixed a high price on his town lots, 
more than can be conveniently paid by those desirous of living 
in town, and persons were occasionally constructing upon his 
laWl in defiance of his remonstrances and threats of the law. 
Our government is already, T understand, in possession of the 

44 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

evidence upon which his claim rests, and I need therefore say 
nothing more on the subject. 

A sixth spot dignified with the name of town is Salem, high 
up the Wilhammette, of which too little exists to be worthy of 
an attempt at description. It would seem from this sorry cata- 
logue that Oregob cannot yet boast of her cities. Even in these, 
however, her improvement has been great and rapid, and pop- 
ulation comes into the capital faster than the gigantic fir trees, 
which have lately been its sole occupants, can be made to dis- 

The American missionaries were the first persons to attempt 
any establishment in Oregon, independent of the Hudson's Bay 
Company. They have doubtless done much good in past years, 
but are now disunited ; and with the exception of Mr. Spalding, 
a worthy old Presbyterian gentleman who resides on the Koos- 
kooskie river, I could hear of no attempts going on to educate 
or convert the aborigines of the country by Americans. Why 
their efforts came to be discontinued, (for there were at one 
time many missions in the field, Presbyterian, Methodist, and 
Babtist, and an independent self-supporting oW,) would be a 
question which it would be dif^cult to have answered truly. 
The various recriminations which were uttered, as each mem- 
ber thought proper to secede from his benevolent associates 
in Christian duty, were not calculated to increase the public 
respect for their individual disinterestedness or purity. They 
seem early to have despaired of much success in impressing 
the minds of the Indians with a just sense of the importance of 
their lessons, and very sagaciously turned their attention to 
more fruitful pursuits. Some became farmers and graziers, 
others undertook the education of the rising generation of 
whites and half-breeds, and a few set up for traders ; but these 
last imprudently encroached upon a very dear prerogative of 
the Hudson's Bay Company by bartering for beaver, and only 
by hastily quitting it escaped the overwhelrning opposition of 
that all-powerful body. The French missionaries, to-wit : a 
bishop, a number of priests, and seven nuns, are succeeding in 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 45 

their operations. They are amply furnished with money ahd 
other means for accomplishing their purposes. They educate 
a number of young Indians, principally girls, and all the off- 
spring of the Canadians. In addition to a large wooden nun- 
nery already some years in use, they are now building a brick 
church of corresponding dimensions, on beautiful prairie 
grounds a few miles from the Wilhammette river, and thirty- 
two above Oregon city. They are strict Catholics, and exercise 
unbounded influence over the people of the French settlements, 
who are improving in every way tmder their precepts. The 
mission derives its support from Europe, ahd I was told that 
the Queen of France, and her daughter, of Belgium, are lib- 
eral patronesses of the institution. It is at present in high 
estimation with all classes ; it gives employment and high wages 
to a great number of mechanics and laborers, pays off punctu- 
ally in cash, and is without doubt contributing largely to the 
prosperity of the neighborhood and country around it. A few 
Jesuits are located within six miles of the mission, and are os- 
tensibly employed in the same praiseworthy occupation. 

The Methodist institute, designed as an educational estab- 
lishment for the future generations of Oregon, is still in the 
hands of gentlemen who were connected with the Methodist 
mission. It is finely situated on the Wilhammette, fifty miles 
above Oregon city. As a building its exterior was quite impos- 
ing from a distance, but I was pained, upon coming up with it, 
to find its interior apartments in an entirely unfinished state. 
Mr. Wilson, who is in charge of it, was so hospitable and polite 
to me that I refrained from asking questions which I was sure, 
from appearances, would only produce answers confirmatory 
of its languishing condition. Five little boys were now getting 
their rudiments of education here ; when, from the number of 
dormitories, it was manifest that it had been the original design 
to receive more than ten times that number. I learned from 
Governor Abernethy, however, about the beginning of 1847, 
that the number of its pupils was fast increasing. 

46 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

Of the Indian population of Oregon nothing new can be said. 
The "Nez Perces" are described as receiving advantageously 
the suggestions of Mr. Spalding with regard to the cuhivation 
of their fields and rearing their cattle and horses. No diffi- 
culties or wars among the tribes of any consequence have re- 
cently occurred. A fracas between the Cowlitzes and Chinooks 
took place v\^hile I was in the river, in which a young Chinook 
was killed, but the parties are mutually too feeble to make their 
quarrels a matter of any general interest. It was only among 
these two remnants of tribes, besides the Clatsops and the Cal- 
lapooiales, that we had an opportunity of making any observa- 
tions, and what I say on this subject will be understood as 
relating exclusively to them. The old and melancholy record 
of their decline must be continued. Destitutio'n and disease 
are making rapid havoc among them ; and as if the proximity 
of the white man were not sufficiently baneful in its insidious 
destruction of these unhappy people, our countrymen killed two 
by sudden violence and wounded another in an uncalled for and 
wanton manner during the few months of my sojourn in the 
country. The only penalty to which the perpetrators of these 
different acts were subjected was the payment of a blanket or 
a beef to their surviving kindred. Public opinion, however, 
sets very strongly against such intrusions upon the degraded 
red man, and perhaps a year hence it may be strong enough to 
hang an offender of this kind. It is clearly the duty of our 
government to look promptly into the necessitous conditions of 
these poor Indians. Their number is now very small : of the 
four tribes I have named, there are probably altogether not 
over five hundred, old and young, and these are scattered in 
lodges along the river, subject to the intrusion of the squatter. 
If their situation could but be know'n to the humane citizens 
of the United States, it would bring before the government 
endless petitions in their behalf. As a matter of policy, like- 
wise, it is indispensable that measures should be taken to get a 
better acquaintance with these as well as the mountain tribes ; 
they are perfectly familiar with the difference between Amer- 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 47 

icans and English, calling us "Boston mans," and the English 
"King George's mans"; and it would be highly judicious to 
make them sensible of their new and exclusive relations with 
the United States. A gratuitous annual distribution of a few 
thousand flannel frocks and good blankets (for an India'n would 
rather go naked than wear a bad one) to those living near our 
settlements would be not only an act which humanity demands, 
but one from which many good consequences would ensue. In 
speaking of the Indians, I would respectfully suggest that this 
moment is, of all others, the most favorable for extinguishing 
their titles to the land. Miserable as they are, they display 
some spirit and jealousy on this subject. Although a patch 
of potatoes may be the extent of their cultivation, they will 
point out a circuit of many miles as the boundary of their pos- 
sessions. The tribes of which I have spoken have no chiefs, 
and on that account it would be difficult to treat formally with 
them; but a well selected agent, with but small means at his 
disposal, would easily reconcile them to live peaceably and 
quietly in limits which he should specify. 

The salmon fishery naturally succeeds the preceding sub- 
ject. Strange to say, up to this day none but Indians have 
ever taken a salmon from the waters of the Columbia ; it seems 
to have been conceded to them as an inherelit right, which no 
white man has yet encroached upon. They are wonderfully 
superstitious respecting this fish ; of such vital importance is his 
annual visitation to this river and its tributaries that it is prayed 
for, and votive offerings made in gratitude when he makes 
his first appearance. In Frazier's river, and still further north, 
the Indians carry their ceremonies and superstitious observ- 
ances at this event far beyond the practices in the Columbia: 
here the shoals of salmon, coming from the north, enter the 
river in May, but they are permitted to pass on several days 
before nets are laid out for their capture. No reward of money, 
or clothes, will induce an Indian to sell salmon the first three 
weeks after his arrival ; and throughout the whole season, upon 
catching a fish they immediately take out his heart and conceal 

48 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

it until they have an opportunity to burn it, their great fear 
being that this sacred portion of the fish may be eaten by dogs, 
which they shudder to think would prevent them from coming 
again to the river. When it is remembered that the many 
thousand Indians living upon this river, throughout its course 
of more than twelve hundred miles, are almost entirely de- 
pendent upon salmon for their subsistence, it would lessen our 
surprise that these simple-minded people should devise some 
propitiatory mean of retaining this inappreciable blessing. The 
annual inroad of these multitudinous shoals into the Columbia 
may, in its effects upon the happiness and lives of the inhabi- 
tants, be compared to the effect produced upon the Egyptians 
by the rising of the Nile; a subject upon which they are de- 
scribed as reflecting not with lively solicitude ahd interest, but 
with feelings of religious solemnity and awe. 

The salmon are much finer, taken when they first enter the 
river ; and from the last of May the business of catching and 
drying is industriously pursued by the Indians. These sell to 
the whites, who salt and pack for winter use, or exportation. 
As the season advances the fish become meagre and sickly, and 
only those not strong enough to force a passage against the 
torrent at the Cascades, and other falls, remain in the lower 
waters of the river. In September they are found at the very 
sources of the Columbia, still pressing up stream, with tails 
and bellies bruised and bloody by the long struggle they have 
had against the current and a rocky bottom. They die then in 
great numbers, and, floating down stream, the Indians inter- 
cept them in their canoes, and relish them none the less for hav- 
ing died a week or fortnight previous. The young fry pass out 
to sea in October; they are then nearly as large as herrings. 
Different families of salmon are in the habit of resorting to 
dififerent rivers. The largest and best come into the Columbia, 
weighing on an average twenty pounds each ; some exceed 
forty pounds. Seven or eight hundred barrels are annually 
exported ; they retail at Oahu for ten dollars a barrel, but I do 
not believe they are so highly appreciated anywhere as in Ore- 
gon, where they may be considered their staple article of food. 
Sturgeon a'nd trout are also abundant in the Columbia. 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 49 

I was surprised to find so great a scarcity of game in this 
country. I lugged a heavy gun more than a hundred and fifty 
miles through the Wilhammette valley, and in all that ride saw 
but three deer. Wolves are numerous, and prey upon other 
animals, so that the plains are entirely in their possession. The 
little venison I saw in Oregon was poor and insipid ; a fat buck 
is a great rarity. Elk are still numerous, but very wild, living 
in the depths of the forests, or near those openings which the 
white man has not yet approached. An Indian hunter often 
brought elk meat to us at Astoria, which he had killed in the 
unexplored forests between Clatsop plains and You'ng's river. 
Black bears are very common, and destructive to the farmers' 
pigs ; the grizzly bear is more rarely seen, but one of the Shark's 
officers procured a very promising young grizzly, and sent him 
a present to a lady friend at Oahu, whence it is probable he will 
be conveyed to the United States. 

Nearly all the birds and fowls of the United States are found 
here, with several varieties of the grouse and partridge which 
we have not. The turkey is not indigenous to Oregon, but has 
been introduced and successfully reared there. Wild fowl, 
from the swan to the blue-wing, are very abundant during the 
winter. The wild geese move over the country in clouds, and 
do great injury to the wheat fields upon which they determine 
to alight. The field lark, the robin, the wren and the sparrow 
alternately flit before the traveller and identify the country 
with scenes at home. 

Although most descriptions of timber grow in this country, 
and grow to a great size, its quality and usefulness are in no- 
wise comparable to that produced in the United States. The 
best here is found farthest north from Nisqually, towards the 
northern boundary. In those parts I visited, there was not a 
stick of timber suitable for shipbuilding; the spruce makes 
tough spars, but is very heavy, and after seasoning is apt to 
rive and open too much. Neither hickory, walnut, nor locust 
has yet been found here ; they would doubtless, if introduced 
and proper soil selected for them, thrive prosperously. The 

50 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

hazel bush makes a substitute for hickory hoop-poles, and an- 
swers well. Perhaps a critical exploration would find timber 
of durable fibre in the less genial atmosphere of the mountain 
ridges; the cause of its bad quality in the low lands is the 
rapidity of its growth, which in all countries produces the same 
disqualifying effects. The ash, which is very abundant, com- 
pares with that grown elsewhere better than any other timber. 
Much remains unknown respecting this essential portion of 
this country's wealth ; nor would I have it inferred that because 
I saw no good specimen of timber, there are 'none to be found. 
Oregon, from its extent and varied topography, must, of 
course, possess some diversity of climate. As a general re- 
mark, it is equable and salubrious ; and although ten degrees 
of latitude farther north than Virginia, it assimilates to the 
climate of that State, particularly in winter, qualified by less 
liability to sudden violent changes. The same season, however, 
in Oregoh is characterized by more constant rains and cloudy 
weather. Our log-book records rain, hail, or snow, every day 
between October 29th, 1846, and January 17th, 1847, except 
eleven, and a continuation of such weather was anticipated 
until the month of March. But during this time there were 
but few days of severe cold. Grass grew verdantly in every 
spot that was at all sheltered, and yielded sustenaWe to the 
cattle, which requires neither shelter nor feeding (except what 
it procures itself) throughout the year. From March till Oc- 
tober the weather is delightful ; occasional showers obscure the 
sun and refresh the earth ; but what is very remarkable, the 
summer clouds in Lower Oregon are seldom attended by thun- 
der and lightning. During the winter, at the mouth of the 
river, we experienced this phenomenon, and witnessed its ef- 
fects occasionally upon conspicuous trees in the forest, but in 
the interior it is not common at any season — a consoling cir- 
cumstance to our countrywomen, who had been previously 
subject to its terrifying effects, dh the banks of the Illinois 
and Mississippi. 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 51 

The products of the soil depend mainly upon the climate, 
and the excellence of the latter is indicative of the abundance 
of the former. Hence we find from the seacoast to the Cas- 
cade range of mountains, an average breadth of 110 miles, a 
most vigorous natural vegetable growth ; the forest trees are 
of gigantic stature, while the intervals between them are filled 
with a rank, impenetrable bushy undergrowth. Where the 
growth is rapid, maturity and then decay quickly succeed, and 
the soil is enriched from its own fruits. This region, like that 
of the United States before it was colonized, "has been gath- 
ering fertility from the repose of centuries, and lavishes its 
strength in magnificent but useless vegetation." It is not, 
however, a woody solitude throughout. Within the limits al- 
luded to lies the whole Wilhammette valley ; continuous ranges 
of prairie lands, free from the encumbrance of trees or other 
heavy obstacles to the plough, stretch along, ready for the 
hahd of the cultivator ; in their virgin state these are over- 
grown with fern, the height of which, say from three to ten 
feet, indicates the strength of the soil. No felling of trees 
or grubbing is necessary here. A two-horse plough prostrates 
the rankest fern, and a fine crop of wheat the very next year 
succeeds it. The fields, however, continue to improve under 
cultivation, and are much more prolific the fourth and fifth 
years tha!n before. Wheat is the staple commodity ; the average 
yield is twenty bushels to the acre ; and this from very slovenly 
culture. Those who take much pains, reap forty or fifty. Al- 
though population is dispersed over these clear lands, and a 
large portion of them is held by "claims," there is, notwith- 
standing, a mere fraction cultivated. A fair estimate of all 
the wheat raised in 1846 does not exceed 160,000 bushels, 
which, by the average, would grow upon 8,000 acres of land — 
not a hand's breadth compared to the whole body claimed and 
held i'n idleness. The quality of the wheat produced here is, 
I believe, unequalled throughout the world ; it certainly excels 
in weight, size of grain, and whiteness of its flour, that of our 
Atlantic States, Chili, or the Black sea, and is far before any 
I have seen in California. Oats grow with correspondent lux- 

52 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

uriance ; but the nights of this salubrious valley are too cool for 
Indian corn or rye. These last grow to perfection further 
interior, where the summers are warmer than they are west- 
ward of the Cascade mountains. The few experiments made 
with hemp and tobacco have proven the competency of the soil 
and climate to their production. In short, I can think of noth- 
ing vegetable in its nature, common within the temperate zone, 
that Oregon will not produce. Fruits have been, so far, very 
sparingly introduced; there are a few orchards of apples, 
peaches, and pears among the Canadians; but growing upon 
seedlings, the fruit is inferior. A great variety of berries 
are indigenous and abunda'nt; among them the strawberry, 
cranberry, whortleberry, and a big blue berry of delicious 
flavor. The traveller stopping at the humblest cottage on a 
summer day will be regaled with a white loaf and fresh butter, 
a dish of luscious berries, and plenty of rich milk; to procure 
all of which the cottager has not been outside his own enclosure. 
The fields for cultivation comprise, as before remarked, but a 
small portion of the country; outside the fences is a commoii 
range for the cattle. These have increased very rapidly, and 
in nothing does the new emigrant feel so sensibly relieved from 
labor as in having to make no winter provision for his stock. 
Large droves of American cows and oxen have annually ac- 
companied the emigrating parties from the United States, and 
the Hudson's Bay Company have imported many from Califor- 
nia ; but of this indispensable appendage to an agricultural dis- 
trict, the far greater number in the Wilhammette valley have 
sprung from a supply driven in from California, through the 
instrumentality of Purser Slacum, United States navy, who 
visited Oregon eight or nine years ago as an agent of the 
government. Chartering a small vessel in the Columbia, he 
carried down to St. Francisco a dumber of passengers, gratis, 
whom he aided in procuring cattle, and purchased a number 
for himself besides, which were driven into the rich pastures 
of Oregon; their descendants are to the inhabitants a fertile 
source of present comfort and future wealth. It is but justice 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 53 

to the memory of Mr. Slacum to add, that from this circum- 
stance, and others Hke it, evinci'ng an interest in the welfare of 
the people, and a desire to aid their efforts in settling the 
country, no other official agent of the United States who has 
visited Oregon is held in equally high estimation or grateful 
remembrance by the early settlers here. 

The Hudson's Bay Company own large flocks of sheep, the 
breed of which they have taken every pai'ns to improve, besides 
affording them a constant table supply of good mutton. This 
stock yields a profitable fleece of wool, which goes to England. 
Many farmers are also rearing this animal, which succeeds 
admirably. I saw a flock of twenty on the Recreall river, 
which had been brought the year before from Missouri. Its 
owner informed me that they had travelled better, and proved 
on the journey more thrifty, than either horses or oxen, climb- 
ibg mountains and swimming rivers with unabated sprightli- 
ness during a journey of two thousand miles. Of this small 
stock every one had come safely in. 

It is scarcely worth while to add that all garden vegetables 
grow abundantly in Oregon — at least all which have been 
tried ; fresh seed and increased varieties are much wanting, and 
it is to be lamented that the emigrants seldom bring out any- 
thing of this kind. If each would provide himself with a few 
varieties, how soon would they be repaid for their trouble. 
The man who will put some walnuts and hickory nuts in his 
pocket, and bring them to Oregon, may in that way propagate 
the growth of timber, for which posterity will be grateful. But 
few exotic plants or flowers have yet arrived ; but the natural 
flora of this country is said, by those acquainted with the sub- 
ject, to be very rich and extensive. Speaking of flowers re- 
minds me that the honey-bee has not yet been naturalized — a 
desideratum which every one seems to notice with surprise 
where the sweet briar and honeysuckle, the clover and wild- 
grape blossom, "waste their sweets upon the desert air." An 
emigrant of 1846 left Missouri with two hives, and conveyed 
them safely over the mountains ; but was overtaken by winter 

54 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

before reachi'ng the settlements, and, to the regret of all, this 
praiseworthy and troublesome experiment did not succeed. 

There has been nothing valuable in mineralogy yet discov- 
ered. Coal had been found in the northeastern portion of 
Vancouver's island, and the British war-steamer Cormorant 
visited the mine and procured some of it, which was found to 
be of fair quality. A systematic exploration of our own terri- 
tory would doubtless bring to light much valuable information 
on this subject. 

With respect to defences, the subject is too comprehensive 
to be more than hinted at here. Cape Disappointment may be 
rendered impregnable, and will command the river so long as 
the chanhel passes where it does ; but I cannot suppose the 
government will commence works of defence anywhere, with- 
out a special reconnoissance by military engineers had first been 
made of the premises. It may be proper, however, to report 
that Cape Disappointment is now "claimed" by Mr. Peter 
Skeen Ogden, a chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company. 
He purchased the "claim" from an American named Wheeler, 
giving him a thousand dollars for it, and is now putting up a 
warehouse there. Point Adams, the southern point of the 
river's mouth, and nearly five miles from the cape, is low and 
sandy, and of course not so susceptible of defence as the other 
side ; nor is there safe anchorage in its neighborhood during the 
winter season. The cape, Tongue point, both sides of the Wil- 
hammette falls, a site at the Cascades, and one at the Dalles, 
are points on the rivers prominently presenting themselves for 
reservation by the government, should it design to reserve 

Nisqually, and perhaps other places on the sound and coast, 
are not less distinctly marked by nature as eligible sites for 
forts or future towns. I have omitted Astoria from this list, 
as the isthmus of Tongue point, within three miles of it, is 
every way better situated for a business settlement, being acces- 
sible to ships from sea of equal draughts of water, having more 
spacious anchorage ground, and subject to less tide. A snug 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 55 

cove on the easter'n side affords secure landing for loaded boats, 
flats, and rafts coming down the river, without the exposed 
navigation around the promontory. Mr. Shortiss, an Ameri- 
can, "claims" two miles along the river and half a mile back, 
including all this point, by virtue of the organic law of Oregon, 
and an hereditary title acquired through his India^n wife, who 
was born somewhere hereabouts. The policy of confirming all 
these land claims it is not my province to discuss ; but it may 
be necessary to observe that few of those who are now in pos- 
session of the land could by any means be made to pay even 
a dollar and a quarter an acre for it. In the first place, they 
have "not the necessary funds ; and in the second, they feel 
that they have fairly earned a title to it, by assuming posses- 
sion while it was uncertain to whom it belonged, and that this 
very act of taking possession at the expense of so much toil 
and risk gives an increased value to what remains unoccupied, 
which will indemnify the government for the whole. The 
President's suggestions tO' Congress on this subject will, it is 
hoped, be acted on, and a law framed to meet the exigency. 

Many allowances should be made in favor of these people. 
They come generally from among the poorer classes of the 
western States, with the praiseworthy design of improving 
their fortunes. They brave dangers and accomplish Herculean 
labors o'n the journey across the mountains. For six months 
consecutively they have "the sky for a pea-jacket," and the wild 
buffalo for company; and during this time, are reminded of 
no law but expediency. That they should, so soon after their 
union into societies at their new homes, voluntarily place them- 
selves under any restraints of law or penalties whatever, is an 
evidence of a good dispositio'n, which time will be sure to im- 
prove and refine. If some facts I have related would lead to 
unfavorable opinions of them, it will be understood that the 
number is very limited — by no means affecting the people as a 
mass, who deserve to be characterized as honest, brave, and 
hardy, rapidly improving in those properties and qualities which 

56 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

mark them for future distinction among the civilized portion 
of the world. 

With great respect, I am, sir, &c., &c., 

Lieut. Commanding, U. S. Navy. 

To the Commander-in-chief 

Of the U. S. Naval forces in the PaciHc Ocean. 



Her Majesty's Sloop Modeste, 
Fort Vancouver, Columbia River, Sept. 13, 1846. 

Sir : It was with the greatest regret that I this morning 
received information of your vessel being on the sands at the 
mouth of the Columbia. From the hurried information I have 
received, I much fear my boat will be too late to render any as- 
sistance in saving the vessel ; but in the possibility of your not 
having bee^n able to save provisions, &c., I beg to offer for your 
acceptance a few of such articles as are not likely to be obtained 
at Clatsop. 

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant, 

THOS. BAILLIE, Commander. 
Lieut. Howison, 

Commanding U. S. Schooner Slmrk. 


Fort Vancouver, Sept. 11, 1846. 
Dear Sir: We have just heard of the unfortunate accident 
which has befallen the Shark on the bar of this river, and 
we beg to ofifer our sincere condolence dn the distressing event. 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 57 

We also beg- to offer every assistance we can render in your 
present destitute state, and hope you will accept of the few 
things sent by this conveyance. Captain Baillie having de- 
spatched bread and tea by the Modeste's pinnace anticipated 
our intention of sending such things. Have the goodness to 
apply to Mr. Peers for any articles of food or clothing you may 
want, and they will be at your service if he has them in store. 
As the people of Clatsop can furnish abundance of beef and po- 
tatoes, we are not anxious about your suffering any privation 
of food. If otherwise, Mr. Peers will do his utmost to supply 
your wants. 

With kind remembrance to the officers, we remain, dear sir, 
yours truly, 

Neil Howison, &c., &c. 


Baker's Bay, Friday, September 9, [1846.] 
Sir: I much regret the melancholy disaster which befel 
your vessel on Wednesday evening, and also my inability to 
render you any assistance at that time. The Indians tell me 
there are several lives lost, but I hope such is not true. 

I am informed you wish to occupy part of the house at 
Astoria ; it is at your service, as also anything else there in the 
shape of food or clothing ; and I must, at the same time, apol- 
ogise for offering you such poor accommodatio'ns. I sent off 
a despatch to Vancouver yesterday morning, to acquaint them 
of your distress, and expect an answer Sunday morning. 
I remain, sir, yours, most respectfully, 

Port Agent of Hudson's Bay Company. 
To Captain Howison, 
&c., &c., &c. 

58 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

Oregon City, September 15, 1846. 
Dear Sir : Last night we heard the melancholy tidings that 
the schooner Shark was lost on the South spit. It was very 
paibful intelligence, particularly as we are yet in doubt as to 
the safety of yourself, officers, and crew. The letter we re- 
ceived at this place states that the probability is, all were saved ; 
which I sincerely hope may be the case ; but until we hear of 
the safety of all, we will be in an unhappy state of suspense. 
My first feeling was to leave all here, and reach Clatsop as 
soon as possible; but I am situated in such a way, just at this 
time, that I cannot leave. Should you not make arrangements 
to get away in the Mariposa, we have your room in readiness 
for you, and will be very happy to have you make one of our 
family, as long as you may remain in the country, and any 
one of your officers that you may choose for the other room. 
I perceive the Modeste's launch was to leave with a supply of 
provisions for you for the present. If you wish anything that 
I have, let me know, and I will send it down immediately. I 
have plenty of flour, and have no doubt but plenty of beef and 
pork can be obtained here for the crew. It will give me great 
pleasure to be of any service to you. Hoping to hear from 
you soon, and that yourself, officers, and crew are all safe on 
shore, and in good health, 

I remain, dear sir, yours, very truly, 

Captain Neil Hoavison, 

&c., &c., &c. 

September 19, 1846. 
* * * * * * Should a vessel arrive belonging 
to the firm, I think you will have no difficulty in chartering her 

Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 59 

to go to California. I shall be happy to render you all the 
assistance that lies in my power. Should you wish any assist- 
ance as it regards money, or anything that I can obtain for you 
in Oregon, please inform me, and I will at the earliest date 
endeavor to procure it for you. Please accept my ki'ndest re- 
gards to yourself and officers. 

Yours truly, 
Capt. Neil Howison. 



Baker's Bay, Columbia River, 

December 1, 1846. 

Dear Governor: One of the few articles preserved from 
the shipwreck of the late United States schooner Shark was 
her stand of colors. To display this national emblem, and 
cheer our citizens in this distant territory by its presence, was a 
principal object of the Shark's visit to the Columbia; and it 
appears to me, therefore, highly proper that it should hence- 
forth remain with you, as a memento of parental regard from 
the general government. 

With the fullest confidence that it will be received and duly 
appreciated as such by our countrymen here, I do myself the 
honor of transmitting the flags (an ensign and union-jack) 
to your address ; nor can I omit the occasion to express my 
gratification and pride that this relic of my late command should 
be emphatically the first United States flag to wave over the 
undisputed and purely American territory of Oregon. 

With considerations of high respect, I remain your obedient 


Lieutenant Commanding United States Navy. 

60 Lieutenant Howison Report on Oregon, 1846 

Oregon City^ December 21, 1846. 

Dear Sir: I received your esteemed favor of the 1st De- 
cember, accompanied with the flags of the late U. S. schooner 
"Shark," (an ensign and union-jack) as a "memento of parental 
regard from the general government" to the citizens of this 

Please accept my thanks and the thanks of this community 
for the (to us) very valuable present. We will fling it to the 
breeze on every suitable occasion, and rejoice under the em- 
blem of our country's glory. Sincerely hoping that the "star- 
spangled banner" may ever wave over this portion of the 
United States, I remain, dear sir, yours truly. 


Neil Howison, 

Lieutenant commanding, &c., &c. 


A very snug harbor has within a few years been sounded 
out and taken possession of by the Hudson's Bay Company on 
the southeastern part of Vancouver's island. They have named 
it Victoria, and it is destined to become the most important 
British seaport contiguous to our territory. Eighteen feet 
water can be carried into its inmost recesses, which is a fine 
large basin. There is besides pretty good anchorage for fri- 
gates outside this basin. The company are making this their 
principal shipping port, depositing, by means of small craft 
during the summer, all their furs and other articles for the 
English market at this place, which is safe for their large ships 
to enter during the winter season. They no longer permit them 
to come into the Columbia between November and March. 


®j> Thomas W. Pro«ch 

One of my books is Bancroft's (San Francisco) Hand Book 
Almanac for the Pacific States for 1863 — a half century ago. 
It is not, perhaps, a rare or valuable volume, but to those in- 
terested in "old Oregon" it is entertaining akid pleasant — a re- 
minder of days when people and things on the North Pacific 
Coast were young and new. To the readers of the Oregon 
Historical Quarterly the mere mention of the names therein 
contained will be good, while comparison of the statistical facts 
and figures of those days with like statements of these days 
will be instructive and grateful. It is impossible to tell 
how many people were in Oregon fifty years ago, 
but, judging by the numbers found by the census taken 
in 1860 and 1870, it may be safely assumed that the 
number was about sixty-five thousand, or about one-fourth the 
number to be found this year in the city of Portland alone, a 
city that then contained about four thousand inhabitants. While 
all parts of the state have increased in population, trade and 
wealth, no one will pretend, of course, that other parts have 
kept up in the race with Portland. Gold had been discovered 
in Washington Territory in 1860-1-2, and so many men had 
gone to seek it that in 1863 Congress created the Territory of 
Idaho, including those parts of Washington in which the gold 
had been found. Following these discoveries, gold was fotmd 
in Eastern Oregon. As one of many results of these gold finds 
several thousand people, mostly men, planted themselves in 
that part of the State east of the Cascade Mountains. They 
liked the country and were there to stay. They demanded 
political recognition from the Legislature, and in consequelice 
the counties of Baker and Umatilla were created, these, with 
Wasco, being the three counties in the eastern half of the 
State in 1863. Baker and Umatilla were then so new, how- 
ever, that they do not appear in the Almanac as possessed of 
settlements and governments as complete as those of the older 

62 Thomas W. Prosch 

In 1863 Addison C. Gibbs was Governor of Oregon. He had 
six predecessors, dating back to 1845, namely : George Aber- 
nethy, Joseph Lane, John P. Gaines, John W. Davis, George 
L. Curry a'nd John Whiteaker. Other State officers were 
Samuel E. May, Secretary of State; Edwin N. Cooke, Treas- 
urer ; Asahel Bush, Printer, and P. S. Knight, Librarian. Elec- 
tions were held in June, and State officers chosen for four 
years. In 1862 the people had voted on location of the State 
capital, Salem getting 3213 votes, Eugene 1921, Corvallis 1798, 
and all other places 427. The vote was indecisive, as no place 
had a majority. 

James W. Nesmith and Benjamin F. Harding were U. S. 
Senators, and John R. McBride Representative in Congress. 

P. P. Prim, R. E. Stratton, Reuben P. Boise, E. D. Shattuck 
and J. G. Wilson were the five circuit judges, and they also 
constituted the Supreme Court. In each district was a prose- 
cuting attorney. The first and fifth districts each included tliree 
counties ; the second, third and fourth, five counties each. The 
district attorneys were James F. Gazley, A. J. Thayer, Rufus 
Mallory, William Carey Johnson and C. R. Meigs. 

The State militia was then headed by Major General Joel 
Palmer, Brigadier General Orlando Humason, Brigadier Gen- 
eral Elisha L. Applegate, Judge Advocate Richard Williams, 
and Surgeon General Ralph Wilcox. Aides to the commander- 
in-chief were A. G. Hovey, John H. Mitchell, David P. Thomp- 
son and L. W. Powell. The writer believes these men consti- 
tuted the entire militia force of the state. 

The United States was represented by Matthew P. Deady, 
district judge ; Shubrick Norris, clerk ; Wm. L. Adams, customs 
collector at Astoria ; Edwin P. Drew, collector at Umpqua, and 
William Tichenor, collector at Port Orford ; Byron S. Pengra, 
surveyor general at Eugene ; W. A. Starkweather, register, and 
W. T. Matlock, receiver, of the land office at Oregon City; 
John Kelly, register, and George E. Briggs, receiver, of the 
land office at Roseburg; Wm. H. Rector, superintendent of 
Indian afifairs, and T. McF. Patton, clerk, at Salem; Wm. 

Oregon in 1863 63 

Logan, Indian agent at Warm Springs reservation ; T. W. 
Davenport, at Umatilla; James B. Condon, at Grand Ronde; 
Benjamin R. Riddle at Siletz; Lewis Brooks at Alsea, and 
Amos D. Rogers at Klamath. 

Ge'neral George Wright at San Francisco was in command 
of the military on the Pacific Coast, but General Benjamin 
Alvord, at Fort Vancouver, under Wright, was in charge of 
operations, posts and men in Oregon and Washington. 

At Cape Hancock and Toke Point were Oregon's only two 
lighthouses. In the State were dne hundred and fourteen post- 

The State Treasurer reported April 22d, 1862, that he had 
$3,899 in hand September 8th, 1860, but that since he had re- 
ceived $89,707. He had disbursed $54,472, and there was on 
hand at date of report $39,134. These figures seemed large 
then, but now, when they are exceeded frequently in a single 
week, they are very small. 

The State Senate consisted of sixteen members, and the 
House of Representatives of thirty-four. Those belonging 
to the two bodies were : 

Senate — D. W. Ballard, Wilson Bowlby, C. E. Chrisman, 
Bartlett Curl, J. W. Drew, Solomon Fitzhugh, William Green- 
wood, John W. Grim, D. S. Holton, A. G. Hovey, James K. 
Kelly, John R. McBride, John H. Mitchell, James Munroe, 
WilUam Taylor and Jacob Wagner. Wilson Bowlby was pres- 
ident, and Samuel A. Clarke, chief clerk. 

House — Lindsay Applegate, C. P. Blair, H. M. Brown, F. 
A. Collard, E. W. Conyers, John Cummins, A. J. Dufur, Joseph 
Engle, James D. Fay, P. W. Gillette, J. D. Haines, A. A. 
Hemenway, Orlando Humason, J. T. Kerns, Rufus Mallory, 
V. S. McClure, Wm. M. McCoy, A. A. McCully, John Minto, 
I. R. Moores, Joel Palmer, Maxwell Ramsby, C. A. Reed, G. 
W. Richardson, Ben Simpson, John Smith, Archibald Steven- 
son, S. D. Van Dyke, P. Wasserman, James Watson, Ralph 
Wilcox, M. Wilkins, W. H. Wilson a'nd A. M. Witham. Joel 
Palmer was speaker, and S. T. Church, chief clerk. 

64 Thomas W, Prosch 

The Legislature represented by these men was the twenty- 
third in Oregon's history, or the twenty-third session was held 
by them, dating back to May 16th, 1843, there being ten ses- 
sions under the Provisional Government, ten under the Terri- 
torial Government, and three under the State. 

The twenty-one counties of Oregon by name, county seat 
and statistically, showed up a half century ago as follows : 

Population, Voters, Taxable 

Counties, County Seat— 1860. 1861. property. 

Baker, Auburn 

Benton, Corvallis 3,074 748 $ 1,293,047 

Clackamas, Oregon City 3,466 909 1,403,539 

Clatsop, Astoria 498 135 214,277 

Columbia, St. Helens 532 124 244,273 

Coos, Empire City 384 201 164,523 

Curry, Ellensburg 393 164 201,641 

Douglas, Roseburg 3,264 1,134 1,398,752 

Jackson, Jacksonville 3,736 1,564 2,082,385 

Josephine, Kerbyville 1,622 833 628,982 

Lane, Eugene City 4,780 1,170 2,297,375 

Linn, Albany 6,772 1,567 2,447,557 

Marion, Salem 7,088 1,766 2,784,068 

Multnomah, Portland 4,150 1,381 2,789,804 

Polk, Dallas 3,625 810 1,828,470 

Tillamook, 95 32 21,358 


Umpqua, Yoncalla 1,250 298 611,798 

Wasco, Dalles 1,689 573 750,400 

Washington, Hillsboro 2,801 632 1,044,760 

Yamhill, Lafayette 3,245 857 1,679,942 

52,464 14,898 $23,886,951 

WAR OF 1886 

^y Henry C. Coe 

The last Indian uprising in the Pacific Northwest, known 
as the Cayuse War of 1886, was not a great affair ; a few whites 
and some Indians were killed, and some property destroyed. 
It was a pitiful failure — the last feeble effort of a dying race 
to retain their homes, their tribal habits and their independ- 
ence, bequeathed to them by their ancestors of unknown ages 
past, a protest against the encroachment and domination of 
the white man. The trouble was precipitated by the govern- 
ment using force of arms to effect the removal, to the various 
reservations, the numerous camps and villages of Indians scat- 
tered along the bahks of the Columbia and Snake Rivers. For 
years past the reservation agents and special commissioners 
had utterly exhausted their stock of blandishments, promises 
and threats in order to effect a peaceable removal of the ob- 
durate savages. But patience finally ceased to be a virtue and 
the soldiers came. The trouble first originated in the tribe of 
Chief Moses of the Grand Coulee Reservation in Northeastern 
Washington. A noted medicine man, Sem O Holla, commonly 
known as Smoholly, having possessed himself of a tamanowas 
(spirit), began to dream dreams and see visions. Sem O Holla 
then was a middle-aged man of more than ordinary intelli- 
gence. He had a fine face, always wreathed in smiles, but 
with a fearfully deformed body, being a hunchback, the sec- 
ond that I ever knew amongst the Indians. He was reputed to 
have had wonderful mesmeric forces and to have dealt largely 
in occult mysteries. His seances were always accompanied by 
the beating of tom toms, dancing and singing of war songs, and 
continued until the whole camp was in an uproar and resulted 
in the brutal murder of a family near Snipe's Mountain in 
Yakima County, Eastern Washington, by three young bucks 
who were on their way southward from Moses's camp to incite 
other tribes along the Columbia River to revolt. Old Chief 

66 Henry C. Coe 

Moses was later compelled to give up the murderers, who were 
afterwards taken to Walla Walla and hanged. The dream 
habit seemed to be contagious and spread to neighboring tribes. 
An old scallawag named Colwash, a rump chief of a rene- 
gade band that made its headquarters on the north bank of 
the Columbia River at the Grand Dalles, the same thieving 
outfit that caused the early emigrants on their way to the Wil- 
lamette Valley so much trouble and annoyance, got the fever 
and dreams and dancing commenced. The character of these 
performances soon reached the ears of the agent of the Yakima 
reservation at Fort Simcoe, who had jurisdiction over all the 
Indians north of the Columbia River and east of the Cascade 
Mountains. At this time the Rev. J. H. Wilbur was the tem- 
poral as well as the spiritual head of that institution and a man 
who would not stand for any performances of that kind at this 
particular time. A message was sent notifying Colwash to 
cease his "dreaming" and close up his dahce house instanter. 
No attention was paid to the order and dreams and dancing 
continued. Two Indian policemen were sent from the reser- 
vation to arrest the offender and bring him to the agency. On 
their arrival at the camp members of the band crowded so 
thickly in and around the dance house that the policemen were 
unable to make the arrest and returned to the agency and 
reported the facts in the case. 

Father Wilbur, who had just finished his dinner, listened 
quietly to their report; then, turning to an attendant, ordered 
a team to be hitched to his two-seated covered hack ready for 
an immediate start to the Dalles. To Mrs. Wilbur he said, 
"Mother, a little lunch for our suppers." And inside of an hour 
with his two trusted policeme^n was on his way to the scene of 
the disturbances. Father Wilbur was a remarkable man of 
powerful physique, an indomitable will and as utterly fearless 
as it was possible for a man to be, of a genial, kind-hearted, 
generous nature, he was as sternly just and firm as a New Eng- 
land Puritan. Late that night he reached the block house in 
the Klickitat Valley, fifty miles from the agency and thirty 

Father Wilbur as Indian Agent, 1886 67 

from his destination, and there rested until morning. With a 
fresh team, he reached Colwash's camp before noon and found 
the dance in full blast and torn toms beating time to their sing- 
ing of war songs, which made a din that would have made 
a heart less stout than his hesitate at the task ahead. Springing 
from his hack he walked to the door of the dance hall, where 
nearly the entire band of savages had collected as soon as they 
saw him make his appearance. The Indians at once attempted 
to block his way, as they had the Indian policemen previously. 
And then trouble began. His long, muscular arms began to 
revolve like the fans of a great windmill. The "siwash" ob- 
structors were pitched headlohg this way and that and were 
soon fairly running over each other in their attempt to escape 
those terrible flails. The road cleared, he seized the rascally 
old dreamer by the nape of the neck and literally yanked him 
out of the house headforemost, handcuffed him, picking him up 
bodily, and then pitched him into his hack, taking a seat by his 
side. No jeers or laughter followed him as he turned on his 
way back to the agency, as it had his discomfited policemen 
a few days previously. Those who were not rubbing their sore 
spots were simply wo'ndering what was coming next. There 
are but few men who would have dared to have undertaken such 
a task alone. Unarmed he drove fifty miles over a lonely road, 
by the very spot where a former agent, A. J. Bolan, was bru- 
tally murdered in cold blood by a band of his own Indians, 
and to a camp of renegades collected from the various tribes 
throughout the country and numbering between one and two 
hundred men, and single-handed forcibly takes his man from 
their midst, handcuffs him and drives away. The act was char- 
acteristic of the man. He feared God only. 


Cost of Improvements Made by Dr. John McLoughlin at 
Willamette Falls to Jan. 1, 1851. 

Flour Mill- 
Machinery $6050.00 

Frame of the building 2575.00 

Studding and rafters 110.00 

Weather boarding 65.00 

Flooring 580.00 

Partitioning 96.00 

Flour Bin 78.00 

Shingles 84.00 

Windows 255.00 

Painting and glazing 255.00 

Flour press 18.00 

Wood for machinery 550.00 

Stone foundation 2871.00 

Men's work 1760.00 


Granary — 

Framing, building, laying floor, and weather- 
boarding (labor) $2700.00 

Weather boarding 65.00 

Shingles 80.00 

Flooring 225.00 

Studding 105.00 

Additional work 10.00 


Old Saw Mill- 
Building $1500.00 

Machinery 800.00 


New Saw Mill — 

House and machinery 2,000.00 

Canal — 

Making $ 500.00 

Materials 330.00 

: 830.00 

Basin and breakwater — 

Making $1700.00 

Materials 900.00 


Gates — 

Labor and materials 285.00 

Bull wheels 620.00 

Boom 270.00 

Grist mill canal — 

Labor $ 775.00 

Materials 640.00 


Dr. McLoughlin's Improvements at Oregon City 69 

Blasting new canal 1,000.00 

Rennick's house 400.00 

Wilson's house 250.00 

Beef store 100.00 

Mission house and lots 5,400.00 

New dwelling house 4,368.00 

Office 950.00 

Kitchen 70.00 

Kitchen 50.00 

J. Brown's house 60.00 

F. Ermatinger's room 80.00 

Indian shop 40.00 

J. Bechan's house 60.00 

Paid on road ($600.00), bridge ($400.00) 1,000.00 

In 1849— 

Bake house $1200.00 

Office addition 1250.00 

Subscription to road 100.00 


In 1851— 

Subscription road 1,500.00 


Oregon Territory , 

Clackamas County. 
Personally appeared before me, Allan P. Millar, clerk of the 
District Court of the United States, for the couVity of Clack- 
amas, in the Territory of Oregon, Philip Foster, who, being 
by me duly sworn, deposes and saith that he has examined 
the foregoing account of moneys expended by Dr. John Mc- 
Loughlin, in making improvements at the Falls of the Willam- 
ette, and that to the best of his knowledge and belief and rec- 
ollection, the same is correct, a'nd that a large portion of the 
work was executed by himself and the money by him received, 


Subscribed and sworn to before me this 8th day of January, 
A. D., 1851. 

Clerk U. S. Dist. Court for Clackamas County. 

A precisely similar affidavit is made by Walter Pomeroy, 
Esq., another old citizen. 

70 Documents 

In addition to the afore-mentioned amount, Dr. McLoughlin 
has expended large amounts in building, as follows: 
A large store, occupied for some years past by De- 
ment & Co., with offices in second story, house 
plastered and well finished throughout, built in 

1853, cost $16,000.00 

A two-story store, built and finished throughout 
for a drug store, with a hall full size of the sec- 
ond story, house plastered and well finished 

throughout, built in 1853, cost 12,000.00 

A large store, with rooms in second story, near the 
steamboat landing, built for Preston, O'Neil & 

Co., in 1854, cost 10,000.00 

A two-story buildi'ng erected for the office of J. B. 

Preston, surveyor-general, in 1854, cost 6,000.00 

In all $44,000.00 

To which add the previous amount 46,730.00 

Making a grand total of $90,730.00 

Note. — The above document was found among a lot of manuscripts left by 
the late ex-Senator James W. Nesmith, and given to the Oregon Historical Society 
by his daughter, Mrs. Harriet K. McArthur, several years ago. 

Allan P. Millar, the clerk of the United States District Court for Clackamas 
County, was the father of Mrs. Elizabeth Millar Wilson, for many years a resident 
of The Dalles, now deceased. 

Philip Foster, referred to in the affidavit, was a native of Maine, and came 
to Oregon in 1843. He was a brother-in-law of Francis \N'. Pettygrove, who 
came to Oregon by sea in 1843. He made the first settlement in tlie vicinity of 
the place now called Eagle Creek, Clackamas County, about sixteen miles east of 
Oregon City, and was widely known as an excellent mechanic. 

Walter Pomeroy was a pioneer of 1842, and a mechanic also. 




Miss Coman has in this two-volume work "rounded up" the 
essential elements in the records of the white man's beginning's 
in all that part of our country lying to the west of the Missis- 
sippi River. The story is brought down to the Civil War 
period. Her achievement consists in revealing the main threads 
in each narrative of exploration, colonization and settlement 
and in suggesting the basis upon which all may be wrought 
into a great dramatic whole. An expansive field, a long roll 
of world-famous characters and a period stretching through 
three centuries are staged. The first scene opens with almost 
transcontinental marches by Coronado and De Soto bent on 
conquest and confiscation of the treasures of supposed cities of 
the far interior. This was in the early part of the sixteenth 
century, and it was the middle of the nineteenth before the 
struggle was over and this last unoccupied imperial domain 
of the temperate zone was relinquished to the youngest con- 
testant — the latest to enter the lists for it. Nor does the action 
lag from the beginning to the end. Spanish conquistadores 
and Franciscan monks move to the north into New Mexico 
and Texas and up the Pacific Coast to San Francisco Bay. 
Spanish navigators pe'netrate to 54° 40' in search of the straits 
of Anian. English buccaneers round Cape Horn and prey upon 
Spanish, cities and commerce and set up national standards on 
our western coast, claiming the whole region as a New Albion. 
Russian enterprise directed from St. Petersburg, and first led 
by the dauntless Bering, comes down the coast and occupies 
for decades a post just north of the Golden Gate. In the 
meantime France, represented by such empire builders as La 
Salle and the Verenderyes, with followings of missionaries and 
fur traders, establish lines of posts and exte'nd explorations from 
the Great Lakes to the mouth of the Mississippi and to the Rocky 

*Economic Beginnings of the Far West. How We Won the Land Beyond the 
Mississippi. By Katharine Coman. Volumes I and II. Illustrated. New York: 
Macmillan, 1912. 

72 F. G. Young 

Mountains. These would have held all the country beyond 
had not the military prowess of the English at Quebec com- 
pelled a relinquishment to them of all the Canadian approaches. 
England's great corporate agencies, the Northwest Company 
and the Hudson's Bay Company, then display highest energy 
and efficiency in exploitation of the fur resources of the tiorth- 
ern zone of the region, and especially of the Pacific Northwest, 
and get a grip upon that portion so strong that it would seem 
nothing would ever wrest it from them. However, a new con- 
testant has appeared upon the scene. American seamen show 
themselves able to hold their owb in the maritime fur trade 
upon the Pacific shores and a Gray is first to enter the Colum- 
bia River. This exploit of discovery is followed by the great 
stroke planned by a far-seeing American executive and car- 
ried out by Lewis and Clark. Adventurous fur traders, irre- 
sistible home-building pioneers, gold-seekers and religious zeal- 
ots do the rest. The land beyond the Mississippi is won for an 
American nation, which is to front squarely on both oceans. 

This integration by Miss Coman of the annals of the three- 
centuries-long series of struggles for possession, participated 
in by representatives of half a dozen nations, was sorely needed. 
As an aid towards an orderly and comprehensive grasp of the 
historical foundations of this western land, it is most wel- 
come. It is conducive to the development among the dwellers 
therein of a real depth of home feeling for and home interest 
in their environment. 

The well-read or well-taught youth living to the east of the 
Mississippi River has a fairly clear mental picture of the pro- 
cession of eve'nts through which that part of our national do- 
main became the home of the people and the institutions now 
established there. His study of American history in the com- 
mon schools has furnished him with a well-ordered vista that 
stretches back to the first appearance of the white man upon 
our eastern shores and which includes the westward movement 
of the American people in fairly clear outline as they com- 

Coman's Economic Beginnings of the Far West 7Z 

plete the occupation of the eastern half of the Mississippi 

Conditions have been comparatively favorable in the Eastern 
States for the development of a forceful appeal of the past 
through the objects in the environment of the dweller there. 
From the Jamestowns and Plymouth Rocks as natal spots, the 
radiating lines of growth of populations and of institutions 
can be readily visualized. There have bee'n orderly expansions 
and increasing complexity of organization from these simple 
germinal centers. Dramatic incident and crises of revolutionary 
struggle when great issues were at stake have marked the prog- 
ress of events leading up to the present. Historians of high- 
est skill and genius have spared no efifort in bri'nging that part 
of our national annals into instructive and charming form. 
The easterner should naturally come under the spell of such 
surroundings ; and the sense of havi'ng a precious patrimony 
to co'nserve should be kindled and strengthened. Communal 
regard for his land as his home must naturally arise, and what 
is of moment far and beyond all else, the meaning and spirit 
of this past so fully realized becomes the vehicle through which 
the communal and commonwealth hearts and minds may pro- 
ject their ideals. 

No such vitalized traditions speak from the surroundings 
of the resident of the newer West. We are, of course, joint 
heirs with our eastern brethr^ of the glorious national tra- 
ditions, but our mountains and plains, rivers and valleys do 
not serve us as bearers of historic associations. We cannot, 
as is possible with those in the East with their surroundings, 
people in imagination our landscapes with scenes that enrich 
the thought and 'nourish the heart. Yet it is this consciousness 
of a common heritage associated with one's home surroundings 
and this use of it that affords the best basis for strength of 
the sentiment and the spirit of communal unity. All those who 
dwell in that larger portion of the country stretching from Min- 
nesota to Southern California and from Louisiana to the Puget 
Sou'nd country are in prime need of halos of associations for 

74 F. G. Young 

their surroundings. These vouchsafed, bonds of sympathy and 
community of interest would arise affording the only really 
indispensable capital-fund for life enrichment. It must ever be 
borne in mind that out of the sublimated elements of a peo- 
ple's past their bibles are made. It must be their own essen- 
tial and peculiar achievements that become the well-spring of 
communal nobility from which issue the refinement of senti- 
ment, visions and ideals. 

For this history of the "Economic Beginnings of the Far 
West," Miss Coman should have the credit of having made a 
unique initial coVitribution toward the end of enabling the west- 
erner to see each object of his surroundings as a burning bush. 
There are two characteristics in Miss Coman's handling of the 
source material for her work that give it its significance. For 
the first time the trans-Mississippi part of the country is identi- 
fied as having a degree of historical unity. The annals of the 
different sections of this region are made to show the under- 
lying unity in the movements through which the occupation of 
it was consummated. The progressive ensemble of result of 
the converging advances upon this territory by the Spaniard 
and Frenchman, and by the Russian, Englishman and Ameri- 
can is revealed so clearly that it is seen as a whole from the 
beginning of the sixteenth centur}^ to the middle of the nine- 
teenth. The essential features of the process through which 
the darkness of barbarism was dispelled from the whole of this 
realm are made assimilable. A mental picture of it as a whole 
is possible from the moment the first white man, a Spaniard, 
rode into its borders ; and a continuing vision of it is presented 
uninterruptedly through three centuries until it is all assem- 
bled under the Stars and Stripes. 

The "Economic Beginnings" of the title refers to the other 
characteristic that gives peculiar significance to Miss Coman's 
work. The prowess of virtue through which the white man 
supersedes the red mail and through which one type or nation- 
ality of white occupants supplants another has always been, and 
seems destined ever to be, a prowess in economic virtues. The 

Cohan's Economic Beginnings of the Far West 75 

highest requisite for survival and that which has given best 
guaranty of possession here has not been power to conquer 
other men, but abihty to utiHze nature most largely and for 
highest and largest human good. A work that purports to be 
the story of the "Eco'nomic Beginnings" naturally passes in 
review the long procession of exploiters — the seekers for treas- 
ures already accumulated and heaped in supposed cities — and, 
after a long interval, the forty-niners who were eager to hunt 
for gold, though hid in beds of placer and veins of quartz ; the 
trappers of the beavers or traders for it and the hunters for the 
bufifalo, animals that nature had led into this region ; others 
who introduced horses and cattle to roam as wild ; and finally 
those who introduced and husbanded both plants and animals 
and established more humane systems of relationship among 
themselves as husbandmen. Since economic efficiency and fair- 
ness seems to be the test determining destiny, and most certainly 
so in this region unencumbered by any established ogres of 
the past, it is well that a beginning should have been made 
in setting forth and emphasizing the economic principle in its 
shaping of the past. Such a narrative as Miss Coman's in sug- 
gesting to the people of the different commonwealths of this 
'Tar West" the central motive in the history they are making 
should aid them in utilizing all their past toward giving unity, 
strength and effectiveness in their collective aspirations and 
thus greatly accelerate their pace of social progress. 

I will let Miss Coma'n herself state the means and method 
she relied upon. I quote from the preface of the work: "A 
goodly number of men who' bore an influential part in this 
long and complex contest left diaries, letters or journals re- 
counting what they saw and did. I have endeavored to tell the 
story as they understood it without bias or elaboration." This 
plan of handling i'nvolves much shifting of the scenes as one 
source is laid down and another is taken up. In fact, the 
presentation as a whole strongly suggests the effect of an his- 
torical panorama, with breaks such as would be occasioned by 
instantaneous flights from one region to another far distant 

76 F. G. Young 

as the eyes of one narrator and actor were dispensed with and 
those of another were made use of. 

Such a method of treatment in which "bias" and "elabora- 
tion" are barred out, and which tells the story as the actors 
"understood it," without interpretation by the author, has prime 
neg'ative virtues, but also decidedly positive defects. It makes 
a synthesis of annals but hardly history. However, the author 
fortunately does not fully keep the pledge made in the preface. 
She does indulge in effective interpretation, particularly in 
connection with conditions under which the Spanish explora- 
tions and attempted occupations were made ; in the fine picture 
given of the influ!x of people into the first belt of the trans- 
Mississippi region ; in the summary of the causes of the virtually 
complete failure of the Spanish occupation of California. With 
all the advantages of perspective the author had, as compared 
with the points of view of the individual narrators, and with 
the birds-eye view of the whole field and of the course of the 
three-centuries-long struggle, it is difficult to see wherein the 
author's self-restraint under such circumstances can be called 
a virtue. 

As a rule each actor is broug^ht upon the scene without in- 
troduction and the reader is also left to his own resources as 
to the lay of the ground, resources, climate, prior occupation 
of the region in which an economic beginning is to be at- 
tempted. If the reader is to be interested and enlighte'ned with 
regard to the play of economic forces, should not an economic 
survey have been made of each region as it was brought within 
the field of view? Should not the standards of living of the 
natives and of the incoming white men have been compared, 
their dififerent valuations of the goods of life ahd the facilities 
of transportation and markets used referred to ? But this is a 
matter of judgment and is probably suggesting an impossibility 
if the admirably clear cut views of the actual course of events 
in each case were to be realized. 

A very serious complaint must, however, be registered against 
the author of this work. She evidently spared herself the 

Cohan's Economic Beginnings of the Far West 77 

tedious task of verifying each statement made where she is 
specific in her summaries. Not a few errors, too, are due to 
careless proof reading: On pages 44-5 we have Lieutenant 
Pike commissioned "to explore the sources of the Red River 
with a view to defining the watershed that divided Louisiana 
from the United States." It should of course be "Louisiana 
from the Spanish country." On page 276 Lewis and Clark, 
on leaving Fort Clatsop, are represented as leaving "a rostrum 
of the party," instead of a roster. In a note referring to a 
statement made of the experiences of Hunt's party at Caldron 
Linn, dn page 320, "Milburn" is given as the name of the 
Idaho town located at these rapids, when it is Milner. 

In the errors pointed out below the reviewer confines him- 
self to those casually noticed in those portions of the narrative 
that relate to the old Oregon country : On page 209, "Captains 
Portland and Dixon" should be Captains Portlock a'nd Dixon. 
The error is repeated. On page 219, Lieutenant Broughton 
is represented as naming "Mts. Hood, St. Helen and Rainier," 
while exploring the Columbia River. Mt. Rainier had been 
named some time before in the course of Vancouver's explora- 
tions; Mt. St. Hele'ns was named by Vancouver while he was 
off the mouth of the Columbia vainly trying to enter. Miss 
Coman endorses this latter statement as a fact on page 270. 
Again Broughton did not name "the outer harbor Gray's Bay," 
but the recess in the north shore of the river to the northeast 
of Tongue Point was named for Captain Gray by Broughton 
as indicating the limit of Gray's voyage up the river. On 
page 270 we are told that "on October 19 they (Lewis and 
Clark) came in view of a snow-clad peak to the west, which 
they rightly surmised to be the mountain named St. Helens 
by Vancouver." It is true that they surmised the mountain 
in view to be St. Helens, but it is most likely that it was Mt. 
Adams, a higher peak on the eastern side of the range, while 
St. Helens is on the western side and not in view except on very 
elevated points east of range. On page 324 McKenzie of the 
Astor Company is said to have "built a fort at its (the Snake's) 

78 F. G. Young 

junction with the Boise * *" Mackenzie's location is re- 
peatedly spoken of as among the Nez Perces and was probably 
on the Snake, at or near the mouth of the Clearwater, far from 
the mouth of the Boise. On page 331 the claim that Astoria 
was not thought of in connection with the making of the terms 
of the Treaty of Ghent is false, as is proven by the instructions 
given the plenipotentiaries. The Russian-American Company 
is quite regularly but mistakenly given the designation "Rus- 
sian-American Fur Company." On page 142, volume II, Mrs. 
Whitman's name appears as Priscilla Preiitis Whitman, when it 
should be Narcissa Prentiss Whitman. On page 153 the pas- 
toral settlement is located "at Multnomah Is, (Governor's Is- 
land Willamette Falls)." This was not physically possible. 
On page 148 we are told that the immediate result "of the 
Whitman massacre was a punitive expedition under the aus- 
pices of the United States." All the punishment the Cayuses 
received was administered by military forces under the Pro- 
visio'nal Government of Oregon. The annual migrations of 
Oregon pioneers from 1839 to 1849 are, on page 155, repre- 
sented as having as their goal Waiilatpu instead of the Wil- 
lamette Valley. On page 156 the "caravan" of emigrants "of 
one hundred and twenty wagons" is spoken of as Whitman's 
and is claimed to be the first to cross the Snake River Desert 
and the Blue Mountains to Walla Walla. It was hardly Whit- 
man's, nor was it the first to cross the Snake River Desert and 
the Blue Mountains. Dr. Floyd is, on page 161, mentioned as 
"senator from Virginia," when he introduced the Oregon res- 
olution of inquiry. He was a member of the House. On page 
162 Hall J. Kelley is given credit for supplying the statistics 
used for Floyd's report. It is very doubtful that he contributed 
any. Survivors of the Astor expedition and the maritime fur 
traders, as well as Prevost's report, are more likely sources. 
On page 163 Champoeg is spoken of as Ewing Young's ranch. 
It was at some distance on the other side of the river. On 
page 164 we learn that "the Donation Act of 1850 finally real- 
ized the liberal land policy proposed by Hall, Whitman and 

Coman's Economic Beginnings of the Far West 79 

Liiin." By "Hall" probably Hall J. Kelley is intended. The 
credit for suggesting the liberal land policy should have been 
confined to Senator Linn, who probably received the suggestion 
from the practices of the older states with their western lands. 
Notwithstanding these strictures charging inaccuracy in the 
details and limitations in articulating the different parts of her 
narrative, Miss Coman's "Economic Beginnings of the Far 
West" deserves the largest measure of gratitude for the new 
light of unity it throws on the past of this great realm and for 
the new meaning suggested in its annals. 





FREDERICK V. HOLMAN ..... Pnildent 

JOSEPH R. WILSON ..... VletJ^ntiJeta 

F.G. YOUNG ...... SuHtan 


GEORGE H.HIMES. AuUtant Seerelarv. 


Term expire* at Annual Meeting in December, 1912. 

Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1913 

Term expires at Annual Meeting ia December, 1914. 

Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1915. 

The Quarierlu a tent (tee to all memben d the Sodety. The atmual due* are two doOan. 
The fee for life membenhip it twenty-fire doUan. H 

Contributioni to The Quarterlu and conapondenoe relative to hirtorical materiab, of pertainint 
to the affain of thit Society, thouU be addriM«ed to 

F. G. YOUNa 


EuBene, Oresoo. 

SobKtiptioDi fot The Quarterly, or (oi the olhei pubficalioat of the Sodety. ihould be aaal !• 


Anitant Secretary, 
205-207 Second Street. Portland 




Oregon Historical Society 


JUNE 1913 

Number 2 

Copinishl. 191 3, by O«coo Hi«t»rie«l Society 
Tba Quuteily &aT«wi tttpamnkXixtr for the positioiu taken by coatiibulon t* it* page* 



ALFRED HOLMAN—Review of Harvey W. Scott's Half- century 

Career as Editor and Estimate of His Work 
CHRONOLOGY— Outline of Events in the Life of Mr. Scott 
CHARLES H. CHAPMAN— Mr. Scott's Extensive Library as 

Guage of His Broad Scholarship and Literary Activity 
LESLIE M. SCOTT— Review of Mr. Scott's Writings on Favorite 

and Most Important Topics ■ _ . . 

VERSES— Contributed on the Occasion of Mr. Scott's Death, by 

Dean Collins and Wm. P. Perkins 


TRIBUTES — From Contemporary Editors Throughout 

States on Mr. Scott's Fame in Journalism - - - 

ILLUSTRATIONS— Photographs of Mr. Scott from 1857 to 1908. 





- 139 and 205 


Entered at (he pott office al Portland, Oregon, as $eeond-clau matttr 







SSSm^HE editorial page ot The Oregonian 

Tm throughout the decades the paper 
^ was in charge of Harvey W. Scott, 
bore constant witness of an unre- 
mitting labor of love in the course 
of Pacific Northwest history, on the 
part of its editor. All future gen- 
erations of Oregonians will owe a large measure of 
indebtedness to him for the light his pen threw 
on the part of Oregon and for the insight he gave 
into the significance of the unique beginnings of 
this western outlying community. 

When conditions were ripe for the organization 
of the Oregon Historical Society, he was among the 
first to cooperate to effect the founding of it and was 
made its first president. For nearly half a century 
historical activity here received from him the 
kindliest fostering and there is thus peculiar fitness 
in the use of the Quarterly to convey to the wo*ld 
the memorials of him incorporated in this issue. 





Editor, pioneer, scholar, commonwealth- 
builder, exponent of national authority, 
leader of thought in the formative period 
of the Oregon Country, distinguished figure 
in American Journalism. His breadth and 
resource of mind, his grasp of abiding prin- 
ciples, his teachings of sturdy moralities, 
his powers of exposition, made him widely 
admired. His life labor as helper of men 
in the Pacific West made him widely beloved 


Harvey W. Scott at 62 years of age. (Frontispiece.) At Bingham 
Springs, Umatilla County, in 1900. 

John Tucker Scott (1809-80), Harvey W. Scott's father. 

Anne Roelofson Scott (1811-52), Harvey W. Scott's mother. 

Harvey W. Scott at 19 years of age at Lafayette in 1857. 

Harvey W. Scott at 27 years of age ; at Portland in 1865 on becoming 
editor of the Oregonian. 

Harvey W. Scott at 37 years of age, at Portland in 1875. 

Harvey W. Scott at 50 years of age, at Portland in 1888. 

Harvey W. Scott at his Editorial desk in 1898. 

Harvey W. Scott at 62 years of age, at Bingham Springs in 1900. 

Harvey W. Scott at 66 years of age, near Washington, D. C, in 1904. 

Harvey W. Scott at 70 years of age. 

Harvey W. Scott at Seaside, Oregon, in 1905. 

Harvey W. Scott at 70 years of age, at Portland in 1908. 

Facsimile of writing of Harvey W. Scott. 

Harvey W. Scott and George H. Williams at Portland in 1904. 

Harvey W. Scott's library in his home at Portland. 

Harvey W. Scott's home at Portland. 


of the 

Oregon Historical Society 


Copyright, 1 9 1 3, by Oregon Historical Society 
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages 




S}f Alfred Holman ' 

It was given to the generation of Mr. Scott's youth and to 
the succeeding generation of his maturer years to take a wil- 
derness in the rough and mold it through steadily advancing 
forms to the uses of modern life At the beginning of Mr. 
Scott's career Oregon was a country whose very name was 
best known to the world as a poet's synonym for solitude and 
mystery ; at the end it was a country which might challenge 
the world as an exemplar of the worthiest things in social 
development. Thus the background of Mr. Scott's career 

I Mr. Holman, many years prominent in the journalism of the Pacific 
Coast, now editor of the San Francisco Argonaut, received his first newspaper 
training under Mr. Scott on The Oregonian in 1869-70. His fitness proved itself 
early and Mr. Scott gave him growing opportunities. His intimate association 
with Mr. Scott during more than 40 years gave him close knowledge of the 
editor's personality for this appreciative article. Mr. Holman has called Mr. 
Scott the "parent of my mind" and Scott once publicly referred to Mr. Holman 
as the "well-beloved son of my professional life." Mr. Holman's article shows 
not only keen insight into the personality of his subject, but also wide knowledge 
of pioneer conditions and sympathy with pioneer life. This equipment comes to 
him from long residence in Oregon and contact with it in newspaper work; also 
from his pioneer family connections. His paternal grandfather was John Holman, 
native of Kentucky (1787-1864), who came to Oregon in 1843 from Missouri; his 
father was Francis Dillard Holman, who came to Oregon in 1845. Mr. Holman's 
maternal grandfather. Dr. James McBride (1802-73), native of Tennessee, came to 
Oregon in 1846 from Missouri. His daughter, Mary, married Francis Dillard 
Holman September 25, 1856. The Holman and the McBride families settled in 
Yamhill county. Later the McBride family moved to St. Helens, in which 
vicinity members of it yet reside. The two connections belonged to the pioneer 
energies of Kentucky and Tennessee. — (L. M. S.) 

88 Alfred Holman 

was a shifting quantity, presenting each year— almost each 
month — new conditions and fresh problems, and calling 
to the man who for forty-five years was the pre-eminent leader 
of its thought for 'new adjustments, oftentimes for comprom- 
ises. If it must be said of Mr. Scott that the essential values 
of his character were individual, it still remains to be said that 
they were profoundly related to the conditions and times in 
which his work was done. The great figures of any era are 
those who, sustaining the relationships of practical under- 
standing and sympathy, are still in visio^ and purpose in 
advance of the popular mind and of the common activities. 
So it was with Mr. Scott. There was never a day of the many 
years of his long-sustained ascendancy in the life of Oregon 
in which he did not stand somewhat apart and somewhat in 
advance of his immediate world. In this there was an element 
of power ; but there was in it, too, an element of pathos. For 
closely and sympathetically identified as Mr. Scott was at all 
times with the life of Oregon he was, nevertheless, one doomed 
by the tendencies of his character and duties to a life meas- 
urably solitary. 

The fewest number of men are pre-eminently successful in 
more than a single ensemble of conditions. Any radical 
change is likely first to disconcert and ultimately to destroy 
adjustments of individual powers to working situations. The 
qualities which match one condition are not always or often 
adjustable in relation to others. It was an especial merit of 
Mr. Scott's genius that it fitted alike into the old Oregon of 
small things and into the new Oregon of large things. Yet 
there was that in the constitution of old Oregon which re- 
lieved it of the sense of limitation and narrowness, for be it 
remembered that the old Oregon — the Oregon of Mr. Scott's 
earlier years — stretched away to the British possessions at the 
north and to the Rocky Mountains at the east. Geographically 
it was a wide region, and some sense of the vastness of it and 
of the responsibilities connected with its potentialities, early 
seized upon and possessed the minds alike of Mr. Scott and 
of the more thoughtful among his contemporaries. If we 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 89 

regard this primitive country with attention only to the num- 
bers of its people, it appears a small and even an insignificant 
outpost of the world ; but if, with a truer sense of values, we 
study it under its necessities for social and political organiza- 
tion, there opens to the mind's eye a field vast, practically, as 
the scheme of civilization itself. Thus even in the old 
Oregon of small things, the man who sat at the fountain 
of community intelligence — the editorship of the one and only 
newspaper of the country — lived and worked for large pur- 
poses and under high aspirations. In a mind of common 
mold, taking its tone from the life around about it, there would 
have developed a sense of power leading to the exhilarations 
of ah individual conceit. Upon the mind of Mr. Scott the 
effect was far different. Vn him and upon him there grew a 
noble development of moral responsibility. And this he car- 
ried through the vicissitudes of changing times. It was 
this which gave to him, firmly rooted as he was, the power 
which, in conjunction with his individual gifts, sustained him 
as a continuing force through all the years of his life. 

The external record of Mr. Scott's life is quickly told. 
He was born February 1, 1838, near Peoria, 111., in the pioneer 
county of Tazewell, to which his grandfather, James Scott, a 
native of North Carolina, after a career of twenty-six years in 
Kentucky, came in 1824, the first settler in Groveland town- 
ship. I'n 1852, at the age of fourteen, he crossed the plains to 
Oregon as a member of his father's family, arriving at Oregon 
City October 2 of that year. After something less than two 
years in the Willamette Valley, he went as a member of a still 
migratory family to Puget Sound, where a pioneer home was 
established in what is now Mason County, three miles north- 
west of the present town of Shelton, on land still known as 
Scott's Prairie. Immediately following the settlement of the 
Scotts at Puget Sound, came the Indian war of 1855-6, and 
in connection with this war Mr. Scott began the career of 
public service which ended with his death in 1910. Mr. Scott's 
part in the Ibdian War was that of a volunteer soldier in the 

90 Alfred Holm an 

ranks, and it is of record that he endured the hardships and 
hazards of the campaign with the cheerful hardihood which 
marked every other phase of his hfe, pubHc and private. In 
1856, at the age of eighteen, we find Mr. Scott a laborer for 
wages in the Willamette Valley, dividing his small earnings 
between contributions in aid of his family and a small hoard 
for purposes of education. He entered Pacific University at 
Forest Grove, a small pioneer institution for all its resound- 
ing name, in December, 1856, but was compelled under neces- 
sities, domestic and individual, to abandon its classes four 
months later to become again a manual laborer. From the 
late Thomas Charman^ of Oregon City, in April, 1857 — at 
that time just nineteen years of age — he bought an axe on 
credit and part of the time alone and part in association with 
the late David P. Thompson,^ he worked as a woodcutter, liv- 
ing meanwhile in a shack of boughs and finding his own food, 
supplied only with a sack of flour and a side of bacon from 
Charman's store. While so working and so living he took 
from his labors time to attend the Oregon City Academy dur- 
ing the winter of 1858-9. In the Fall of the latter year he re- 
entered Pacific University at Forest Grove, and supporting 
himself by alternating periods of team-driving, woodcutting 
and school teaching during vacations and what we now call 
week-ends, he graduated in 1863 — a first graduate of the school. 
After another period of school-teaching and study Mr. Scott 
came to Portland and entered as a student in the law office 
of the late Judge E. D. Shattuck, sustaining himself by serv- 
ing as librarian of the Portland Library, then, as fitting the 
day of small things, a small and struggling institution. Mr. 
Scott's first regular contribution to The Oregonian appeared 

2 Thomas Charman was born in Surrey, England, September 8, 1829, and 
came to the United States in 1848, first to New York and afterwards to Indiana. 
He left Indiana in February, 1853, and came to Oregon via the Isthmus, and 
arrived at Oregon City March 30. He began the bakery business first and in a 
few years went into general merchandising. He was mayor of Oregon City several 
terms, beginning in 1871. Was treasurer of Clackamas county during the civil 
war. Was appointed major of the State Militia by Gov. Addison C. Gibbs in 1862, 
and served four years. Was one of the organizers of the Republican party in 
Oregon, beginning in 1855. He was married to Miss Sophia Diller on September 
27, 1854- He died at Oregon City February 27, 1907. — ^(George H. Himes.) 

3 David P. Thompson (1834-1901) crossed plains to Oregon in 1853; many 
years a leading citizen and banker of Portland; mayor, 1879-82; territorial governor 
of Idaho, 1875-6. 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 91 

April 17, 1865, as an editorial on the assassination of Abra- 
ham Lincoln^ He was admitted to the bar of the Supreme 
Court in September, 1865. 

By this time Mr. Scott had become estabHshed in the editor- 
ship of The Oregonian, and excepting for a period of five years 
from 1872 to 1877, in which he held the post of Collector 
of Customs at Portland, busying himself in the meantime i'n 
various activities, pubHc and private, he held this place, made 
great by his industry, his talents and his character, to his death, 
August 7th, 1910. In his earHer career in The Oregonian he was 
an employed editor. He returned to it in 1877 as part owner as 
well as editor, holding this relation to the end. His definite 
editorship of the paper, with the interregnum above set forth, 
covered the period between April, 1865, and August, 1910 — 
forty-five years. 

We have seen something of the external conditions and in- 
fluences which went into the shaping of Mr. Scott's individual 
character, but behind these there lies a wide field. Whence 
came the essential spirit of this extraordinary man? What 
were the sources of the hardihood, the tenacity of purpose, the 
hunger for knowledge and the thirst for culture, the impulses 
and motives which inspired and vitalized his career? There 
is a suggestion in Mr. Scott's name sustained by many physical 
and mental characteristics of a remote ancestry, but the family 
records prior to the migration from the old world to the new 
have been lost. John Scott, great-grandfather, came to North 
Carolina shortly before the Revolutionary War, supposedly 
from England. John Scott's wife, great-grandmother, was 
Chloe Riggs, of North Carolina, obviously of British descent. 
Of her family it is known only that her father was killed by 
Indians. John Tucker Scott,^ father, was born in what was 
then Washington County, Kentucky. Anne Roelofson,^ wife 
of John Tucker Scott and mother of Harvey Scott^ was, like 

4 Mr. Scott was first recognized as editor of The Oregonian May 15, 1865, 
although he wrote numerous editorial articles prior to that date. (George H. 

5 Died at Forest Grove September i, 1880; born February 18, 1809. 

6 Died on river Platte, 30 miles west of Fort Laramie, en route across the 
plains June 20, 1852; born July 26, 181 1. 

92 Alfred Holman 

licr husband, a product of the pioneer Hfe. The first Roelofson 
in America was a Hessian soldier who arrived about 1755 
and presumably took part in the French and Indian Wars 
which preceded the Revolution. The so-called Roelofson 
Clan is widely scattered over the United States. 

John Tucker Scott, founder of the Scott family in Oregon, 
knew no other life than that of the frontier. He was born, as 
we have seen, in Kentucky, and within eighteen miles of the 
birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and six days before that event. 
His early boyhood was passed amid the tragic excitements of 
Kentucky, and at the age of fifteen he followed his father, 
James Scott, into the wilds of Illi'nois. The spirit of the man 
is illustrated by the fact that in 1852, at the age of forty-three, 
he ventured upon the great trek which brought him and his 
family of nine sons and daughters to the then Oregon wilder- 

I can speak from personal recollection of this typical pio- 
neer. In physical aspect he was very much the counter- 
part of his distinguished son, although framed in even larger 
mold. There was in his face and eye a certain eagle-like qual- 
ity, not often seen in these days of gentler living and softer 
motives. Of native mind John Tucker Scott had much; of 
knowledge he had, through some inscrutable process, a good 
deal ; of conventional culture comparatively little. Yet he was 
essentially a man of civilized ideas and standards. So little 
resentful was he against the Indian race from which his family 
had suffered grievously that prior to the migration to Oregon 
his name was enrolled in the membership of a society for 
mitigating the sorrows and cruelties of Indian life. There was 
in the man an element of humanitarian feeling, with a ten- 
dency to sympathy with movements not always wisely con- 
sidered for the betterment of social and moral conditions. I 
think I am not going too far in saying that there were in him 
tendencies which might easily have made him an habitual agi- 
tator ; yet I suspect that the soundness of his mi'nd would under 
any circumstances have checked any temperamental disposi- 
tion toward utopianism. He had grown old when I knew 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 93 

him, and in his bearing- there was something of the arbitrari- 
ness of a resokite character developed under the conditions of 
pioneer Hfe. He held very definite notions of things not 
always carefully considered, and 'not infrequently there was 
collision of opinions between father and son, in which the 
former, despite the developments of time and the enlarged 
dignities of the latter, never lost the sense of patriarchal au- 
thority. However others might defer to the knowledge and 
judgment of the son, the father in leonine spirit would often- 
times seek to bear him down. Yet there was between the two 
men a singularly deep affection^ in the father taking the form 
of a glowing pride, and in the son of a respect amounting 
almost to veneration. 

Mr. Scott — I speak now of the son — was subject always to 
moods of dejection. There were times when it was difficult 
to arouse in him any sense of the pleasant and hopeful side of 
life. I have seen him i'n these moods unnumbered times and 
can recall but one other — that of the death of a promising son'' 
— in which he showed such intense feeling as upon the death 
of his father. For days as he sat in his office or tramped the 
hillsides — and to this he was much given at all times — he 
would pour forth from the storehouse of his memory floods of 
elegaic poetry with sombre phrases from the literature of the 
ages. I know of nothing within the range of human passion 
more painful than the grief of a strong man ; and there is 
impressed upon my memory in connection with the death of 
John Tucker Scott a most pathetic picture. In one sense it 
was mute, for no direct word was spoken, yet it colored Mr. 
Scott's thoughts for many weeks and stimulated in him that 
se'nse of the mystery of life which was always at the back- 
ground of his serious thinking. 

* >i; * * * * * 

Of Mr. Scott's mother, Anne Roelofson, I can only speak 
from the basis of family tradition and in respect of the sus- 
tained affection in which long after her death she was held 
by her children. I do not remember ever to have heard Mr. 

7 Kenneth Nicklin Scott, born May 4, 1870; died February 3, 1881, at Portland. 

94 Alfred Holman 

Scott speak of her directly, albeit there has always been in 
my mibd a feeling that his deep and abiding respect for 
womankind found its first inspiration in the memory of his 
mother. It was the opinion of Mr. Scott's sister, Mrs. Co- 
burn^ — the one among his several sisters whom I knew well — 
that the mother left perhaps a deeper impress on the son than 
did the father. It was from her that he gained the elements 
of tenderness and sympathy which often tempered his more 
aggressive tendencies. I came to understand Mr. Scott's re- 
serve respecting his mother when, after his death, I was told 
by his son Leslie that his father had once remarked that he 
could hardly think of her without tears. And indeed those of 
us who know how the conditions of pioneer life pressed upon 
womanhood, can easily conceive his motives. Whatever of 
hardihood and endurance was demanded of the pioneer, the 
requirement was multiplied as related to the pioneer's wife. 
For the gentler sort of womankind — and to this type by all 
accounts Anne Roelofson belonged — life in the wilderness 
was a long agony of self-sacrifice. With none of the exhilara- 
tions of the conflict with crude conditions, so powerful in their 
appeal to men, there had still to be suflfered the same obstacles 
plus denial of a thousand tender impulses and a thousand 
deep ambitions which masculine character may never feel. 
To the end of his life Mr. Scott remembered — this I have from 
his son — that when he was fourteen years of age, and just 
before her death, his mother called him to a private talk and 
gave him admonitions for the guidance of his life which took 
form as the very foundation stones of his character. Anne 
Roelofson, as we have seen, was of German extraction, and 
her family still living prosperously in Illinois are worthy folk 
industrious, progressive, self-respecting. These qualities the 
mother of Mr. Scott had in eminent development. And by 
due inheritance they became the possession of her son. 

8 Catharine Amanda Coburn, associate editor The Oregonian 1888-1913. Born 
in Tazewell county, Illinois, November 30, 1839; -died at Portland May 28, 1913. 
She was one of the able members of The Oregonian staff, an efficient and devoted 
assistant of her brother, the editor. She made strong impress upon the newspaper- 
reading community. 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 95 

From heredity and through the experiences of his younger 
life, Mr. Scott gained the bent of individual character which 
ruled all his years. He never ceased to be a pioneer. The 
vision of the pioneer, the temper of the pioneer, the spirit of 
the pioneer — these were the dominating tendencies of his life. 
Knowledge with reflection gave him philosophy, culture re- 
fined his mind, mental training gave him orderliness of meth- 
od, discipline self-imposed but absolute gave him power. All 
these regarded as forces, as time moved on, were augmented 
by the assurances of approved capability, of an established pro- 
fessional ascendancy and ultimately of a notable fame. But 
with all and back of all there was the temper and mental atti- 
tude of the pio'neer. In all his thoughts, in all his ways of 
doing things, in every phase of his many-sided attitude toward 
life, there appeared the mental bias — if I may so name it — of 
the pioneer. 

Self-reliance was the resounding viotif in Mr. Scott's sym- 
phony of life. His dependence in all things was upon himself. 
He never thought to be "boosted" by society or government. 
He had little patience with those who looked outside of them- 
selves or beyond their own efforts for advantages or benefits. 
With none of the vices of surface knowledge, of improvised 
and makeshift method, of the self-satisfied emotionalism char- 
acteristic of the self-made man, Mr. Scott was yet a self-made 
man. He was self-educated, self-disciplined, self-reliant. 
Above all of the men I have ever known he was self-centered, 
not in the sense that he thought overmuch of self or was 
devoted to the things which pertained, to self, but in the rarer 
and finer sense of self-dependence in the motives and usages 
of life. ! ; 

The pioneer is necessarily an individualist, and never was 
there a man more imbued with the spirit of individualism 
than Mr. Scott. He and his kind had worked their way under 
and through the hardest conditions. They had fought and 
had achieved against multiplied resistant forces. In later 
times to those about him who declaimed against conditions he 
was wont to exclaim with impatience, not untouched with as- 

96 Alfred Holman 

perity, "You," he would say, "you who talk of hardships or of 
'oppressive conditions' and of the 'grinding forces of life,' are 
absurd. If all the things you and your kind complain of as 
oppressive and burdensome were massed together they would 
not equal one-tenth part of the obstacles which had to be 
met in the settlement and organization of this country, and 
about which we never thought to complain." And if in this 
attitude there was something of the pride of a man of con- 
spicuous achievement, who perhaps regarded too lightly the 
changed atmospheres of new times compared with old^ the 
fact none-the-less explained and perhaps none-the-less justi- 
fied a sovereign contempt for socialization projects, for senti- 
me'ntal declamation, for the whole range of pretenses and 
vanities which mark the man or the community which waits 
and complains as contrasted with the man or the community 
which girds its loins and bravely goes forward. 

It was a day of small things when Mr. Scott came to the 
editorship of The Oregonian. Prior to that event the office 
staff had consisted of Mr. H. L. Pittock,^ the publisher, who 
also served as mechanical foreman, with one outside assistant, 
who helped with the bookkeeping, collected bills and brought 
in details of such local happenings as came to his attention. 
There was a local reporter upon whom the whole burden of 
preparing the news features of the paper fell. Editorial dis- 
cussion, when it was required, was supplied by one or another 
of several public-spirited citizens, among them Judge Shat- 
tuck.^*^ And it was in response to a call made upon Judge 
Shattuck for "copy" that Mr. Scott, a student in his office, 
wrote his first paragraph for the paper. The result so com- 
mended itself to the publisher that he promptly asked for more, 
and as the intelligence and sincerity of the young writer were 
further demonstrated, he was asked to attach himself regu- 
larly to the paper. His compensation, made up in part by the 

9 Managing owner of The Oregonian. 

10 Erasmus D. Shattuck, noted Oregon jurist, born at Bakersfield, Vt., Decem- 
ber 31, 1824; died at Portland July 26, 1900, 




Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 97 

paper and in part by the Library Association, for he continued 
to act as hbrarian, was fifteen dollars per week. Upon these 
terms Mr. Scott's professional life began ; all that followed 
was of his own creation. Even this small beginning was won 
by his own merit without assistance or promotion. 

In the making of Mr. Scott's professional character — of 
the spirit in which he worked and of the methods of his work 
— times and conditions had much to do. It was before the 
day when news-gathering and reporting had become a science, 
before these activities had come to engross the purpose and 
the energy of newspaper-makers. The points of competition 
were not those of lavish expense in news-collecting and of 
lurid processes of presentment, but rather those of individual 
industry and close economy. The business of the editor was 
not that of organizing, drilling and disciplining a force of re- 
porters, copy-readers and headline makers, but the study and 
presentment of facts, explanations and opinions. The machinery 
of social organization in a new country was in the forging ; and 
the interest of the community was naturally and wholesomely 
related to serious matters. Not so much a fever to search out 
and present what is now called the news, as a sense of social 
responsibility, possessed the minds of publisher and of editor. 

In its demands the situation was directly to the hand of a 
youth temperamentally addicted to serious things, disposed by 
propensity and habit to refer every incident and every ques- 
tion to underlying principles. I think it questionable if Mr. 
Scott even in his youth could have adapted himself to present- 
day standards and methods of journalism. Journalist, pre- 
eminent journalist, though he was, for nearly half a century, 
his interest was never in the things which present-day journal- 
ism holds paramount. Events, unless they were related to 
economic or moral fundamentals, had no fascination for him, 
and little hold upon his attention. At the bottom of his mind 
there was ever a sovereign contempt for the trivialities which 
make up the stock in trade of the news room. No editor was 
ever more solicitous for the efficiency of his journal in its news 
pages, but never was there one who personally cared less than 

98 Alfred Holman 

Mr. Scott about what was happening in incidental and incon- 
sequential ways. He comprehended the necessity for encour- 
aging and inspiring his assistants in all departments of The 
Oregonian as it grew to greatness as a disseminator of news, 
and he would upon occasion give himself the labor of going in 
detail through every column of the paper. But it was a per- 
functory labor, and oftentimes I have suspected that it was 
a duty more frequently honored in the breach than in the 
observance. In reports of proceedings of congress or state 
legislature, of utterances of important men the world over, 
of the larger movements of international politics — i'n these 
matters Mr. Scott was interested profoundly. But he cared 
nothing about the ordinary range of insignificant occurrences 
and events. 

Mr. Scott's interest in his own paper centered in the edi- 
torial page. All the rest he knew to be essential. But if there 
had been a way to get it done without demands upon his per- 
sonal attention, he would, I think, have felt a distinct sense 
of relief. He regarded the news department of his paper, in 
the sense of its appeal to his own personal interest, as 
subordinate to the department of criticism and opinion. 
And in the daily making of the editorial page, the fundamental 
conception was that of social responsibility. Expediency, en- 
tertainment, showy writing — these he valued perhaps for not 
less than their real worth, but for infinitely less than the esti- 
mate in which they are held by the ordinary editor. Never at 
any moment of Mr. Scott's professional life was there any 
concession on his part to the vice of careless and perfunctory 
work. Scrupulousness with respect to small as well as large 
matters, commoVily the product only of necessity enforced by 
competition, was in the case of Mr. Scott sustained upon in- 
stinct and principle. During the greater part of his editorial 
career he labored wholly free from, any sort of professional 
rivalry, and never in relation to anything approaching effec- 
tive competition. He might have made easy work of it; he 
chose rather to work hard. 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 99 

As the only publicist and pre-eminent man of opinion in the 
country, Mr. Scott spoke with authority. The habit of regard- 
ing his public counsels as authoritative reacted upon his own 
mind in the sense of creating and sustaining a feeling of in- 
tense individual responsibility. Ultimately he became some- 
thing of an autocrat, but never was there an autocrat in whom 
the spirit of authority dwelt so impersonally and in such 
subordination to conditions and principles of which he was 
ever a devoted student. I recall, as illustrating this aspect of 
Mr. Scott's character — an incident among many — his retort to 
a shallow and pretentious man who had ventured to discuss a 
financial issue with him. Overwhelmed by the fulness 
of Mr. Scott's knowledge, driven from every point of his as- 
sumption, he doggedly remarked, "Well, Mr. Scott, I have as 
good a right to my opinion as you have to yours." "You 
have not," said Mr. Scott, as he rose in warm irritation. 
"You speak from the standpoint of mere presumption and 
emotion, without knowledge, without judgment. You speak 
after the manner of the foolish. I speak from the basis of 
painstaking and laborious study. You have no right to 
an opinion on this subject; you have not given yourself the 
labors which alone can justify opinion. You do not even 
understand the fundamental facts upon which an opinion 
should be based. You say your opinion is as good as mine. It 
will be time enough for this boast when you have brought to 
the subject a teachable mind and when you have mastered 
some of its elementary facts. But I fear even then you will 
be but a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal, for the very 
lack of judgment which permits you now to assume judg- 
ment without knowledge is but a poor guaranty of your char- 
acter. I bid you good-day, sir!"^^ I promised a single in- 
stance, but here is another : An editor of small calibre, com- 
menting upon what he characterized "Scott's arrogance," de- 
clared that he had as good a title to consideration as Mr. Scott 
himself. "Tell him," said Mr. Scott, to the friend who had 

II This incident relates to the contest over fiat money, against which Mr. 
Scott fought from 1866 until its culmination in the election of November, 1896. 

100 Alfred Holm an 

brought a message, "tell him that it is not for me to judge of 
his merits or of his title to speak, but say to him for me that 
when he shall have borne the burden and carried such honors 
as are attached to the leadership of journalism in this country 
for forty years, I will be disposed to concede to him a certain 
equality of privilege." 

Again : There had come to Portland a man of some experi- 
ence in minor journalism in a middle western town of the third 
class, making noisy announcement of his intention to establish 
a newspaper in rivalry with The Oregonian. It happened that 
I fell in with the newcomer and had a free talk with him 
Somewhere in the course of our conversation I said: "Mr. 
Blank, they tell me you are a Democrat; and may I ask to 
which wing of the party you belong? Are you a goldbug or 
a Bryanite?"'^- "Well," he replied, "I never cross bridges until 
I come to them." A few hours later I reported this conver- 
sation to Mr. Scott with emphasis upon the significant reply. 
"Well," he said, as he strode up and down the room with his 
thumbs in the armholes of his waistcoat, and in the deliberate 
manner which marked moods of amused satisfaction. "Well, 
so that's the measure of Brother Blank, is it? Well, I do 
suspect that this community has been fed on too strong meat 
to prove very hospitable to a journalistic dodger!" 

Circumstances tended in multitudinous ways and for many 
years to exhibit and emphasize the importance of Mr. Scott's 
relations to the public. There was scarcely a day in which 
there did not come to him, either in the form of compliment 
or opposition, some tribute to his powers and to his place 
in the life of the state. A man of trivial mind, open to 
the besetments of vanity, would under these recurring in- 
fluences have become a colossus of self-esteem. Mr. Scott 
indeed knew himself a factor in affairs, but he never lost him- 
self in a fog of self-admiration. Oftentimes, when some visitor 
had paid extravagant compliments upon his work in general 

12 William J. Bryan, of Nebraska, was candidate for President in 1896, of the 
free silver Democratic party. Supporters of the single gold standard were com- 
monly called gold bugs. 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 101 

or with respect to the character of The Oregonian, he would 
say, "Oh, he means well, but I suspect that if I had slammed 
his interest or had bumped one of his favorite prejudices 
his tune would have been pitched in another key. If he had 
read widely he would know better than to estimate extrav- 
agantly an article which merely applies in a timely way prin- 
ciples as old as civilization." Then if there was a moment of 
leisure or if the mood was upon him— and when the mood 
was upon him there was always leisure — he would, commonly 
rising from his chair and pacing the floor, recite in a sort 
of measured sing-song which never failed to bring out the full 
meaning, some classic passage pertinent to the matter im- 
mediately under consideration. 

It would be too much to say that Mr. Scott did not relish 
commendation. What I wish to make clear is he never al- 
lowed his pleasure in the approval of others to unhorse his 
judgment, least of all to magnify to himself the merit of his 
own performances. His standards in the matter of estimating 
the value of any piece of work v/ere wholly apart from his 
own relation to it, and the only fault I could ever discover in 
his judgment of his own work and the work of others was 
that he was infinitely more considerate of the latter than of 
the former. Yet there was one curious exception to this rule. 
Somehow Mr. Scott could never feel that the work of any 
pen other than his own could pledge The Oregonian to any- 
thing. In later years — that is, within the latter half of his 
editorial life — the editorial page was the work of various 
hands. Scrupulous as he was in respect to his own articles, 
he could never, unless the subject chanced to be important, be 
brought to give more than perfunctory attention in manu- 
script or proofs to the work of anybody else. "Oh, let it go 
in," he would say, if asked to pass upon an article, "and take 
its chance for whatever it may be worth." And so four times 
out of five Mr. Scott's first reading of the articles of his 
associates was when they appeared in printed form. Then, 
perhaps, if there was anything which he seriously disapproved 
he would soon thereafter bring the paper round with one 

102 Alfred Holman 

of his own thunderbolts to his own Hne of thought. Often- 
times when he was absent, or even when at home, articles 
would appear quite outside the range of his ways of 
thinking but it seemed never to occur to him that the paper 
could be committed in its policies by such expressions; and 
he invariably treated a question, no matter what had been 
said about it by others in the editorial columns, as if it were 
discussed for the first time. That this curious tendency and 
habit should lead to some inconsistencies and to occasional 
serious misunderstandings, was inevitable. They might disturb 
others but they rarely disturbed Mr. Scott himself. He felt 
himself to be The Oregonian ; a'nd he never could feel that the 
paper stood committed to anything unless he himself by his own 
pen had writte'n it out.^^ 

The thought to seek out the tendencies of current opinion, 
to follow or to lead it, and so flatter and cajole the public — 
this which has come to be almost a fundamental rule of con- 
temporary journalism — had no place in Mr. Scott's philos- 
ophy. Of what is called policy he had none at all, and he held 
in sovereign contempt the very word policy. "Policy ! Policy !" 
he would say, "is the device by which small and dishonest men 
seek to make traffic in lies. When a newspaper gets a "^policy' 
it throws over its conscience and its judgment and becomes a 
pander. There is but one policy for a newspaper and it is 
comprehended in the commandment, Thou shalt not bear false 
witness.' " And by this principle Mr. Scott guided his news- 
paper. I never knew him to give an order to "color" the news. 
His rule with respect to the news pages was to present 

13 On February 22, 1906, Mr. Scott said in The Oregonian: "At every stage 
of its history the charge of 'inconsistency' has been thrown at it (The Oregonian) 
by minds too petty to understand even one side of the question under discussion. 
* * * The files of the carpers and critics never will be searched, for they contain 
nothing. 'Inconsistency' is the perpetual terror of little minds. It was the worn 
weapon used against Burke, and against Webster, and against Hamilton, and 
Lincoln, and against Gladstone, and against Carlyle, and against Herbert 
Spencer; for whom, however, it had no terrors. In the arsenal of all petty and 
shallow and malignant accusers it has been the chief weapon. It always will be. 
The most 'inconsistent' books in the world are Shakespeare and the Holy Bible, 
most inconsistent because they say and contain more than all other books what- 
soever; and you can pick them to pieces everywhere and prove their inconsistencies 
throughout. * * It is not necessary to say much in this matter. The work The 
Oregonian has done on the mind of the country, the effects of that work, the 
general achievement, are known. What has been done may tell the story."— 
(L. M. S.) 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 103 

the facts as clearly and as briefly as possible. His judg- 
ments and opinions, his preferences and resentments, his 
loves and his hates — if they were exploited, and candor re- 
quires me to say that they were all exploited at times, the 
place was in the editorial page. The integrity of the news 
Mr. Scott always scrupulously respected. The reports of The 
Oregonian were commonly as fair to those whose ambitions 
or courses it opposed as those it wished to promote. I recall 
in this connection the publication in full made from shorthand 
notes — an exceptional thing in those days — of Senator Mitch- 
ell's address to the legislature upon the occasion of his second 
election. ^^ The Oregonian had fought Mitchell with all its 
powers, but when he was elected his address of thanks to the 
legislature and through the legislature to the public was given 
verbatim. Mr. Mitchell himself was greatly surprised by it — 
indeed, so much surprised that when I met him in the lobby 
of the old Chemeketa Hotel the following morning he forgot 
that we were not on speaking terms. Addressing me abruptly 
in the presence of half a roomful he said : "I want to say that 
while I abate nothing with respect to differences between Mr. 
Scott and myself I do respect his integrity as an editor. I 
was ashamed this morning to find myself surprised at the com- 
pleteness of the report of yesterday's doings at the Capitol. 
Yes, I ought to have known that as a journalist — no matter 
about other things — Mr. Scott is a man of strict integrity." 

In the many controversies in which The Oregonian engaged 
with individuals, much was said that was severe. Much per- 
haps was said that would have been left unsaid upon reflec- 
tion. But invariably the man assailed was given opportunity 
to present his side of the issue, even to the length of open 
disrespect and downright denunciation. Only in one respect can 
I discover any just criticism of Mr. Scott's practice in such 
matters. This exception was upon calculation under the no- 
tion that it was justified — a notion in which I could never 
quite coincide. Mr. Scott would always print an opponent's 
letter, but occasionally he would damn it with a "smashing" 

14 Elected November i8, 1885; died December 8, 1905. 

104 Alfred Holman 

headline. If protest were made on any account by a member 
of his own staff he would reply, "Oh, well, it saves the bother 
of answering." None the less, for he dearly loved a personal 
"scrap," he was more than likely to "answer" in a manner ex- 
hibiting the fact that he had not exhausted the vials of his 

mind in the making of a headline. 


I have said that Mr. Scott never sought to hunt out and 
pander to immediate phases of popular opinion; and this per- 
haps was the strongest point in his character as an editor. 
Certainly it is a point which profoundly differentiates him 
from the more modern editor whose main occupation appears 
to be an imitation of the office of the weathercock to the wind. 
Looking back over his long career and upon its amazing out- 
put of individual work in some ninety volumes of half-year 
files of The Oregonian, it now seems that he was almost al- 
ways in opposition. "It seems forever my fate to be con- 
tending with today, and to be justified by tomorrow," he would 
say. And it was literal truth. I cannot now think of any 
vital principle or of any great issue in all the years of Mr. 
Scott's editorial career in which he was not fundamentally 
right. I cannot recall an instance where he conceded a vital 
principle to mere expediency ; nor can I recall an instance in 
which he permitted himself to play upon the public caprice or 
the public credulity. 

This is said with full remembrance of the fact that a con- 
stant charge against Mr. Scott was that he lacked consistency. 
Upon this charge the changes were rung and re-rung through- 
out his whole career and by those who thought they found 
innumerable proofs in the columns of The Oregonian. I have 
already set forth one habit which formed a certain basis 
for this charge, but the statement does not cover the whole 
case. A larger explanation lies in the difference of vision 
between the man whose sense of obligation was to principles 
and to those who could never see anything higher than inci- 
dents and expedients. For example, Mr. Scott was intellec- 
tually a believer in un trammeled trade. He saw that the ideal 


Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 105 

principle in the relations of men and nations was the rule of 
freedom from artificial barriers. When opportunity served, as 
it did frequentl}', in connection with the discussion of abstract 
considerations, he wrote under inspiration of the faith that 
was in him. I suspect that a careful study of the files, with 
the massing together of many detached articles, would exhibit 
a practically complete exposition of all that may be said on 
behalf of the abstract theory of free trade. At the same time 
Mr. Scott was among those who saw advantages in a scheme 
of protective tariff, regarded purely as an expedient. To 
himself there was a clear line of distinction between the ab- 
stract and the practical presentment. His position to himself 
was clear. But to the rough-riding "protectionist" who knew 
and cared nothing of fundamentals and who under motives 
of self-interest or under the inspirations of partisan feeling 
made a fetish of ''protection" there appeared neither logic nor 
honesty in Mr. Scott's position. He was persistently assailed 
by those who did not, and perhaps could not, understand him 
because they lacked intellectual and moral vision to dis- 
tinguish between the tariflf scheme regarded fundamentally on 
the one hand, and upon the other as an economic and political 
expedient. ^^ Again, in connection with abstract studies Mr. 
Scott frequently declared judgments concerning minor mat- 
ters, only to pass over these same considerations as they were 
related to current politics ; and here again he was assailed as 
a man who held one set of opinions in ofiFyears and another 
set of opinions when it came to the years of practical conten- 
tion. These critics did not see what was clearly in the mind 
of the editor, namely, that politics in its practical aspects can 
only approximate the standards of the fundamental thinker. 
They could not understand — indeed they can never under- 
stand — that one may hold definitely to certain abstract ideals, 
yet in his working relations shape his course subject to the 

15 Mr. Scott, though a free trader, acted throughout his life with the pro- 
tective tariff Republican party, because of larger and more vital issues, such as 
anti-slavery, preservation of the union, anti-greenbackism, gold standard, territorial 
expansion after the Spanish war. He was radically opposed to the Democratic 
party in these questions and considered them far more important than protective 
tariff. If he quitted the Republican party he knew he would lose effective 
political associations. 

106 Alfred Holman 

demands of time and circumstance. There are two kinds of 
truth. But many minds are so constituted that they can see 
but one. Mr. Scott saw both. 

The truth of the matter is that in his professional character 
Mr. Scott represented two types of men. He was a scholar 
and he was a journalist. He loved to study and to preach the 
fundamental and the ideal. As a man of practical affairs he 
knew that the fundamental and the ideal are rarely attainable, 
that they call for conditions and for states of society non- 
existent. Scholarship and philosophy gave him a vision of an 
airline ; but as a leader in the affairs of practical life he real- 
ized that in the working world, including human progress, the 
forward march is not by the airline, but by a winding road. 
He was an idealist but no dreamer, still less a filter at wind- 
mills. He would, perhaps, have enjoyed a purely scholarly 
life — or might have done so if opportunity had come to him 
before the strenuous and combative elements of his nature 
were attuned to action — but his professional responsibilities 
and labors had led him far afield from the cloister. He never 
lost his taste for abstract studies, and his studies were more 
or less reflected in his daily outgivings. But he had that qual- 
ity of mind which led him to comprehend the necessity for 
concession to conditions as he found them in the workaday 

In the long course of Mr. Scott's editorial career he was 
again and again compelled to make compromises. Exigencies 
of time and circumstance found in him such response as be- 
comes a leader in practical thought, but he never lost sight of 
any principle which had come to possess his mind and con- 
science. While circumstances might compel him to swerve from 
the ideal line, he could never be brought to be faithless to it. 
Necessity might compel a change of course, but it could never 
obscure in him a clear vision of the guiding star. 

Under the necessity Mr. Scott could temporize, but he never 
made the slightest concession from sinister motives. In an 
association which gave me the closest possible insight into the 
processes of his mind in relation to his professional labors, I 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 107 

never once saw or heard the sHg-htest suggestion of the cloven 
foot. It became oftentimes an office of friendship as well as 
a matter of duty to point out to Mr. Scott the practical haz- 
ards of one line of action or another. He was always openly 
receptive to suggestions from any source. But it would 
have been a bold man who, knowing Mr. Scott's tendencies of 
mind, would have pressed a point based upon financial, social 
or other personal considerations. His concern, with a not 
undue regard for what was expedient, and therefore practi- 
cally wise, was with what was fundamentally right. 

Somewhere in my youth — perhaps in the correspondence of 
Mr. George W. Smalley, who for so many years wrote both 
entertainingly and wisely of Europe and European affairs in 
a New York paper — I read an explanation of the rather curi- 
ous fact that English provincial journalism has always been 
abler than the journalism of London. Newspapers like the 
Leeds Mercury and the Manchester Guardian have always 
had a clearer vision than the journals of the metropolis. The 
explanation was to this effect, namely, that the provincial 
editor, sitting a little upon one side, so to speak, apart from 
the suggestions and influences of London life, sees things in 
a truer perspective. This remark has long stuck in my mind 
and has seemed to explain in part an exceptional quality in 
Mr. Scott's editorial writing. Oregon for thirty years of Mr. 
Scott's professional career was a country detached and apart, 
and even to this day it is far removed from the greater centers 
of political and material life. The telegraph brings daily re- 
ports of leading events, but it brings only essentials. The 
ten thousand side lights which illuminate the atmosphere of 
New York, Washington or London are lacking. The man 
who deals at such range with the current doings of the world 
has no aid through daily contact with the agents of great 
events and can have small knowledge of the incidental and 
oftentimes significant gossip which attends upon important 
movements. His resource must be a broad view of things. He 
must measure events not as they stand related to incidents, 
but by the gauge of fixed principles. The conditions under 

108 Alfred Holmax 

which Mr. Scott worked accorded perfectly with the 
propensities of his mind. He had a contempt for what he 
termed "outward flourishes" ; his mind went to the core of 
every issue. If the subject were reconstruction or finance or 
the tariff or civil service or foreign policy or whatnot, he 
dealt with it not after the fashion of the mere journalistic 
recorder, but in the profounder spirit of the philosophic his- 
torian. Your average journalist is a mere popularizer of ap- 
propriated materials. He applies to current events conclu- 
sions pretty much always obvious and for the most temporary. 
Mr. Scott, sitting apart from all but the essential facts and 
exercising a true philosophic instinct, sought out the subtle 
links through which, in history and in logic, facts stand related 
to facts. He saw the essential always. He wore upon himself 
like an ample garment a splendid erudition under which he 
moved with entire ease ; and it so possessed his mind that he 
could bring to bear upon any contemporary event all the lights 
of history and philosophy with a judgment unbiased by trivial 
incidents and petty considerations. 

It is not within the purpose of this waiting to consider the 
specific judgments of Mr. Scott in relation to public policies, 
still less to recite the story of the many battles of opinion in 
which he stood in the forefront. These phases of Mr. Scott's 
career form a separate theme which will be treated by another 
hand in this publication. But I hope that without invasion of 
that aspect of Mr. Scott's life which is to engage the pen of 
another, I may speak of his championship of one great cause 
— a championship which ran through many years, developing 
in their fullest power the ample resources of the man and 
which must, I think, in the final summing up of Mr. Scott's 
professional life, stand as the most imposing of his many pub- 
lic services. I refer to his advocacy of sound money as against 
recurrent attempts to inflate the currency of the country by 
issues of "fiat" paper and to debase the monetary standard by 
giving, or attempting to give, to silver an arbitrary parity with 
the world's standard of value, gold. Careful study of history 
had impressed upon Mr. Scott's mind the vital importance of 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 109 

a sound and stable currency. He was among the first to rec- 
ognize the hazard involved in any and all schemes of inflation. 
He foresaw clearly the dangers involved in the earlier efforts of 
the inflationists and long before the silver mebace was real- 
ized elsewhere, he spoke in Prophesy and in protest. During 
many years his was a lone voice crying in the wilderness ; and 
as the silver movement developed and waxed strong his pro- 
test became more earnest and vehement. And as he stood 
in the front of the fight at its beginning so he stood in the 
mighty struggle of 1906 in which it culminated. No other 
man in the country, in public life or out of it, carried on so 
long and so able a campaign as did Mr. Scott.^^ I chance to 
know that it is the opinion of those best qualified for judgment 
that Mr. Scott's earnestness and strength in this great contest 
was from first to last the most powerful individual force in it. 
And to my mind his early insight into this subject with his 
subsequent presentments of fact and reason with respect to it 
form perhaps the best exposition of the powers of his mind 
exercised in relation to a purely practical matter. 

I am loath to pass on from the professional phase of Mr, 
Scott's career, for though my reverence is more for the man 
than for the editor, there was that in his purely professional 
character which sustained very exceptional standards of jour- 
nalism — standards which under the amazing prosperity which 
recent years have brought to the business of newspaper pub- 
lishing have been well nigh overborne. A fine sense of social 
responsibility, an intense respect for fundamental considera- 
tions, the disposition to get from himself the best that was in 
him in matters small and large, the quick conscience with re- 
spect to fact no matter how grievous the labor required to 
develop it, an integrity of mind which would not descend to 
the smallest public deception, a mental intrepidity which reck- 
oned not at all upon consequences, the ability to work and the 

i5 Mr. Scott began his fight against free coinage of silver in 1877; the 
contest culminated in the November election of 1896. It was universally admitted 
that Republicans then carried the gold standard issue in Oregon through eiiforts of 
Mr. Scott. Fourteen years later, shortly before his death, Mr. Scott said that 
that issue was the gravest that had confronted the nation since the civil war, on 
account of the industrial and political danger threatened by debased standard of 

110 Alfred Holm an 

propensity to work in season and out of season — these quali-. 
ties, supplemented by broad resources of knowledge and the 
powers of a mind which instinctively rejected non-essentials 
to seize upon the essence of things — these make up a profes- 
sional character which in my judgment has not been matched 
in the journalism of this country or any other. And when I 
reflect that Mr. Scott passed almost half a century with noth- 
ing of the stimulus which comes from intellectual rivalry, with 
few of the legitimate helps of intellectual association, un- 
spurred by any species of competition, working wholly under 
the promptings of his own impulses ahd his own fine sense of 

manly obligation, I marvel at the record. 

***** * 

Generations of clean-blooded, wholesome-living, right- 
minded forbears gave Mr. Scott a towering frame and a con- 
stitution of mighty vitality. A youth of manual labor and 
untouched by vices had toughened every fibre of the physical 
man. Never was there a sounder mind in a sounder body. 
He had an eye which could gaze unshrinking into the face of 
the sun at meridian and which no stress of study ever wearied. 
"I have never been conscious of having any eyes," he once 
remarked when after many hours of severe work he was cau- 
tioned to be careful of his vision. Labors which would ex- 
haust the vitality of an ordinary man he could in the early and 
middle years of his life sustain day after day with no sense of 
fatigue. At one period — about the year 1875, as I recall it — 
he devoted no less than eighteen hours per day to his studies 
and his office duties. He was temperamentally disposed to 
industry and he had never cultivated habits which idly dissi- 
pate time. Many men of fine minds are subject to atmos- 
pheres and dependent for their moods upon surroundings. 
Something of this disability, if it may be so called, came to 
Mr. Scott in his later years, but during the greater part of his 
life he cared nothing at all about these matters. He could 
have sat amid the clamor of a boiler factory and pursued un- 
disturbed the most abstruse studies. In later years his powers 
of abstraction declined, but in the first twenty years of my 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 111 

acquaintance with him they were absolute. It was his habit 
in these more acquisitive years to turn every moment to ac- 
count. Once in, reply to an inquiry as to his habits of reading 
he answered jocosely, "I read in the morning in bed as soon 
as it is light enough; then I read before breakfast and after 
breakfast; then after I get to the office, before lunch and a 
while after lunch, and, of course, before dinner. Then I read 
a while before I start to my office for the evening and after I 
have read my proofs and trudged home, before I go to bed and 
after I am in bed." And this was hardly an exaggeration. 
More amazing still, he remembered everything he read. He 
never ceased to possess anything he had once made his own, 
and before his thirty-fifth year he had made his own pretty 
much the whole range of the world's serious literature. 

Mr. Scott's classical culture was so thorough and so sus- 
tained that much which the ordinary classicist gropes through 
painfully he could read without a lexicon. It was his daily 
practice and one of his chief diversions to turn passages 
from one language into another. "That's the trick," he 
would say, "which gave me such poor ability to write as I 
have. I could never have done anything without it." Most 
authors of classic renown he had read in the original, and all 
of what may be called the greater works of antiquity he knew 
practically by heart. The late Edward Failing,^^ himself a 
man of fine culture, once told me that his first meeting with 
Mr. Scott was in the reading room of the old Portland Library 
prior to his coming to The Oregonian. It was the practice of 
a group of studious young men to pass their evenings in the 
library and not infrequently conversation, with mutual com- 
parison of their acquirements, was substituted for reading. 
Upon one such occasion somebody brought out a whimsical 
book in which as a literary curiosity Paradise Lost was ren- 
dered in its prose equivalent. As passage after passage of this 
fantastic production was read Mr. Scott gave the versified 
form from memory. The story is characteristic of Mr. Scott's 

17 Bom in New York City Dec. 18, 1840; died Portland, Jan. 29, 1900. Cam« 
to Portland in 1853. 

112 Alfred Holman 

habit through life. His feats of memory indeed were mar- 
velous. Open a book of the Shaksperian plays anywhere and 
read a line and he would almost surely give you the next, and 
upon the instant. Recite to him any passage from the Homeric 
poems, and from memory he would give you the varying 
English translations. Any phrase or any idea having its roots 
or resemblances in standard literature would bring from him 
a perfect flood of recitation, all from memory. I recall once, 
in describing to him the method of a certain orator that I re- 
membered him as a schoolboy rendering heavily one of Web- 
ster's orations beginning : "Unborn ages and visions of glory 
crowd upon my soul," etc., etc. "Ah!" said Mr. Scott, "That's 
an old friend." And he proceeded to reel off from a poet I 
had never heard of, the original expression of which 
Webster's resounding exordium was a paraphrase. What- 
ever form of literature found in him especial apprecia- 
tion became a fixed furniture of his mind. The plays of the 
earlier British dramatists in all their finer passages were as 
definitely in his mind and as available for immediate use as 
the worn maxims are familiar to most of us. He was an ad- 
mirer of Burke and whole passages of his speeches he would 
recite oflfhand. In the course of every day in his ofifice he 
would illustrate perhaps twenty situations by recalling some 
classic or standard utterance, always reciting it letter perfect. 
If he looked from his office window upon the moving crowd 
below, there would arise to his lips some quaint or wise passage 
apt to the circumstance. If anyone asked after his health he 
was more than hkely to reply with a couplet. The writings 
of the great religious teachers of antiquity, even the jargon of 
the modern religious schools, were at his tongue's end. In 
his own writings he was not given to quotation, but one fa- 
miliar with the world's literature might easily trace the gen- 
esis of many a thought and of a thousand turns of expression 
to the amazing storehouse of his memory. 

Mr. Scott gave his mind to many subjects, but perhaps his 
most exhaustive study was within a sphere singularly removed 
from the range of his daily activities. I fancy that it will sur- 

/l4^p^^^2^ ^f, /^P^~^/^r 


Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 113 

prise many tO' know that the subject which claimed his deepest 
interest was that of theology. Here he really touched boftom. 
His researches left unexplored no source of knowledge and no 
scheme of philosophy as related to the spiritual side of human 
nature or as exhibited in the history of the races of men and 
in the writings of prophets and sages. As time wore on and 
as the responsibilities of life pressed upon him he grew away 
somewhat frorri this enthusiasm, but he never lost interest 
in matters theological. Upon no theme could he be more 
easily drawn out and upon none was the wealth of his knowl- 
edge and the play of his thought more fully displayed. He 
came ultimately to a philosophy all his own, very simple, yet 
sufficient to the repose of a mind deeply inclined to spiritual 
contemplation, yet rejecting absolutely the claims of any dog- 
matic creed as the content of absolute truth. In his own 
words : "That mystery, 'where God in man is one with man 
in God,' is sacred to every soul." His ultimate philosophy 
of life was finely expressed in a remark, with respect to 
"Jerry Coldwell,^^ a long time reporter of The Oregonia'n, 
when called upon to speak at his funereal : "Everything perishes 
but the sweet and pure influences that proceed from an honor- 
able life. They are immortal, extending in ever widening 
circles, we may believe through time and eternity." 

In the earlier years of my association with Mr. Scott it was 
his habit to expound to me, for the want of a more intelligent 
audience — none could have been more sympathetic — his plan 
to write a book of moral and religious philosophy ; and I re- 
proach myself in the thought that while the memory of his 
earnestness of purpose and of the obvious profundity of his 
learning and reflection abide with me, the matter which per- 
haps I never really understood, has passed from my mind. 
Among his literary remains, if it be not lost, there should be 
found a fairly complete scheme of headings and notations 
presenting in outline a work which at one time it was in his 
mind to present as a contribution to the permanent religious 

i8 Edward Lothrop Coldwell died at Portland March 15, 1908, age 68 years; 
twenty-five years reporter on The Oregonian and in daily touch with Mr. Scott. 

114 Alfred Holm an 

literature of the world. Time changed his purpose but it 
never altered, I am sure, a philosophy which was the founda- 
tion of his religious thought and the mechanism of what I may- 
presume to call his conscious moral reflections. 


Writing was not to Mr. Scott a natural gift. His propen- 
sity was to thought rather than to expression. He had noth- 
ing of the light and easy grace in the making of phrases which 
with many renders the operation of writing little more than 
pastime. Literally he forged his matter into form and if the 
form was always fine it was made so less by instinctive art 
than by unremitting labors. With many writers, especially 
those who combine experience with propensity, the very pro- 
cess of expression oftentimes inspires and shapes the thought. 
With Mr. Scott the thought always dominated the expression. 
I question if he ever wrote a careless sentence in his life. 
Every utterance was first considered carefully then — often 
very slowly — hammered into shape. He wrote always with 
his own hand and could never with satisfaction to himself em- 
ploy the aid of an amanuensis. His style was a reflection of his 
mind. It was considered, clear, logical, complete and always 
pure. Of a certain species of whimsical slang he was a master 
in conversation; it made the substance of a playful humor, 
which was unfailing in all his freer talks. But when he set 
himself to write, his scholar's sense of propriety, his clean- 
minded regard for pure forms overcame the tendency to ver- 
bal flippancy so frequently and happily illustrated in his speech. 
In my own judgment Mr. Scott's written style lost something 
from this scrupulousness, from its unfailing dignity of phrase. 
I think his work would have gained buoyancy — a certain 
winged power — if he had been a less severe critic of himself, 
if his touch had been lighter and his critical instinct less exact- 
ing. When, as rarely happened, he could be induced to de- 
part from his customary formality of expression, he had in 
it a kind of delight akin to the exhilaration of a naughty child 
over some pleasing smartness. I recall once when some rather 
ridiculous man had made a grandiloquent public declara- 
tion of heroic views, Mr. Scott remarked, "I don't know just 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 115 

how to treat that." Mr. Ernest Bross/^ a long-time and very 
able editorial assistant, suggested : "J^^t print what he says and 
put under it as your sole comment, 'Wouldn't that jar you!' " 
Mr. Scott pooh-poohed the suggestion ; but half an hour later 
he came into my room, which adjoined his own, and read to 
me a paragraph in which in modified form he had used the 
suggested expression. He gurgled over it with the keenest 
delight, and later when his proofs came he walked through 
the editorial rooms reading it to others of the staff. The 
following morning, with the paper spread before him, he ran 
over the particular paragraph with boisterous satisfaction in a 
literary prank. 

Competent as his judgment was with respect to his own 
work as well as to the work of others, it was nevertheless Mr. 
Scott's practice to read over his prepared articles to his as- 
sistants. "Trying it on the dog" was his familiar phrase for 
this form of experimentation. He always invited criticism 
though I do bot recall many instances in which any of us were 
wise enough to help him unless it were at the point of restraint. 
But if there came to him from any source a really good sug- 
gestion he had no vanities leading to its rejection. I think the 
office boy, if he had had a point to make, would have been 
listened to as respectfully as his most trusted assistant. 

Although a constant and profound reader, Mr. Scott spent 
little time upon light literature. Newspapers interested him 
in so far as they gave him information or suggested reflections 
upon current events, but he cared little for magazines and 
would oftener cast them aside after running over the table of 
contents than read them. He lived — I use his own phrase — 
with books; and the books he lived with were books which 
presented to him new facts or old facts in new relations and 
which dealt with broad views of things. Books of mere en- 
tertainment he valued not at all. Of really good fiction he 
read all there was. Of poetry he was a constant reader and 
re-reader. I think he was familiar with every great poem in 

19 Managing «ditor The Oregonian 1197-1904; now editor Indianapolis Star. 

116 Alfred Holm an 

literature and I doubt if there is anywhere a high imaginative 
figure or a great poetic image that was unknown to him. Pas- 
sages from the standard poets came to him upon the slightest 
suggestion, and oftentimes he would recite them from memory 
and at great length. No man more quickly or more surely 
discriminated the good from the bad. Mr. Lucius Bigelow, 
long a brilliant contributor to the Oregonian's editorial page, 
once remarked that Mr. Scott's mind was "a refinery of metals, 
taking in all kinds of ore and with an almost mechanical 
discrimination selecting the fine from the base." The most 
trivial incident would draw from him the loftiest selections 
from the storehouse of his reading. 

Mr. Levinson,^^ another lo'ng time member of the Ore- 
gonian family, recently told me of a characteristic incident. 
One evening he came upon Mr. Scott in the hall with his key 
in his office door, when apropos of nothing he looked up and 
began to recite a passage from White's Mysterious Night — 
"When our first parent knew thee from report divine," etc. 
Having finished the passage, his face wreathed itself in a smile 
and he remarked: "No, Joe; / didn't write that" — and open- 
ing his office door, walked in and sat down to his labors. Thus 
at unexpected times and in whimsical ways he illuminated the 
daily life of the Oregonian office, making it of all the work- 
shops I have ever known the most delightful and inspiring. 

Nature in all its aspects had for Mr. Scott a tremendous 
fascination. He luxuriated in the mere weather — good or 
bad. He would stand at his window and look out upon the 
dreariest day with a certain joy in it. Fine weather with him 
was an infinite delight. He was singularly uplifted by fine 
views, and perhaps of the multitudes who have gazed upon 
Mt. Hood no one ever so intensely enjoyed in it. From the east 
windows of his office on the eighth floor of the "Tower" — for 
so his office came to be known to the public — Mt. Hood was, 
before the period of the sky-scraper, in full view. He kept 

20 N. J. Levinson now -publishes Fresno Herald; many years city editor and 
Stinday editor The Oregonian. 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 1 17 

a pair of field glasses on his desk and it was his habit every 
day many times to gaze at the beautiful picture athwart the 
eastern sky. "I suppose," he remarked one day, "that I keep 
as close tab on Mt. Hood as anybody, but I have to tell you 
that in the tens of thousands of times that I have looked at 
it I have never failed to find in it some new charm." Once in 
the early evening he burst into my room, next his own, in what 
was to him a state of positive agitation. "Look ! Look !" he 
exclaimed. My first thought was that some terrible tragedy 
had stirred him ; but the scene was the full summer moon emerg- 
ing as if from the body of the mountain. "You will probably," 
he said, "never in your life behold that amazing conjunction 
again." So with every other aspect of this ever changing 
mountain. It was his singular love for it, I think, that with all 
of us — certainly with me — has given to^ Mt. Hood a certain 
identification with Mr. Scott. I never look upon it without 
seeing not alone the mountain, but the rugged figure of the 
"Old Man" — for so in aflfection we always styled him when 
his back was turned — in his peculiar pose standing at his win- 
dow, glass in hand, gazing, gazing, gazing! 

I have said that Mr. Scott was not by nature a writer ; and 
truth to tell he was a bit contemptuous of those who were. He 
had a sneering phrase which he often applied to easy, grace- 
ful, purposeless work. "Feeble elegance" was his character- 
ization of all such. He not only wrote with his own hand, but 
perhaps for every column of finished matter which he pro- 
duced he made a column and a half of manuscript. Often- 
times not only his desk but the floor about him would be lit- 
tered with sheets of paper written over but rejected. He de- 
tested slovenliness in the form of a manuscript and would 
laboriously erase words, phrases and whole sentences and re- 
write over the space thus regained. His thought was definite 
but he made serious work of getting it into form ; and he never 
shirked any labor to this end. although to the end of his life 
it was always a labor. He had one curious habit which bears 
a certain relationship to the quality of his work. Oftentimes 
while pondering over the form of a sentence, he would write 

118 Alfred Holm an 

and rewrite on another sheet of paper the word "solidity." I 
have seen this word in his characteristic script duplicated a 
hundred times in a single evening. Whence came this whim- 
sical habit I know not. He had it when I first knew him ; he 
persisted in it to the end. And somehow the word "solidity" 
as he wrote it a milhon times to no obvious purpose seems to 
me to bear in it a kind of symbol of his literary method. Solid- 
ity of thought, solidity of expression — this was his character- 
istic quality. 

Upon many occasions I have heard remarks suggesting the 
idea of Mr. Scott as a severe man — as if he were a hard task- 
master. Never was there a greater misconception. He was 
not indeed much given to the conventioned amenities. He 
would come or go often without a sign of recognition, but it 
was merely the mark of a mind absorbed. In all essential ways 
he was the most considerate of employers — I have sometimes 
thought too considerate for his own profit or for our best 
discipline. His assumption was that every man was, of course, 
doing his duty. There was never anything like critical observa- 
tion of the occupations or the absences of his assistants. He 
never looked at the clock. In his attitude toward his assistants 
there was no direct oversight, no pettiness. And all who 
served him will bear me witness that in the crises of personal 
distress or domestic afifliction he was the very soul of con- 
sideration. A man called from his work by any domestic 
emergency was never made to suffer in the thought that his 
absence from duty would discredit him or that it would be re- 
flected in a diminished pay check. Nor was any man ever 
expected in respect of the course of the paper to write against 
his own convictions or in disloyalty to his own judgment. "Do 
you feel like writing so and so?" he would say. And if there 
was any indication of dissent from views which he evidently 
wished presented he would say : "Oh, well, I will do it myself. 
I don't want in this paper any perfunctory work. No man 
ever wrote anything that he didn't believe, that was worth 
anybody's reading." And so he would set himself to labors 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 119 

which a man of less delicacy or of more arbitrary spirit would 
have imposed upon others. 

4c « * :ic * ^ 

In the sense that he held in profound contempt many things 
which men in general delight in, Mr. Scott may be described 
as unsocial. He abominated ordinary frivolities in which many 
persons find mental refreshment. Social life in the usual inter- 
pretation of the phrase he regarded as waste of time — even 
worse, as tending to mental flabbiness. He had not been 
brought up to understand that even a wise man may frivol not 
unwisely; and though at periods of his life he mixed 
more or less in social companies he got little out of it 
but weariness. So with ordinary amusements. He caied 
little for the theatre unless by some happy chance there 
was intellectual merit in the play or power in the per- 
formance. Sports he held in contempt. But he liked 
walking and at one period of his life he got a good deal of 
pleasure out of horseback riding. Driving was more or less 
a pleasure to him if he found congenial company, but other- 
wise it was a bore. Perhaps the keenest pleasure in his life 
in the sense of occupation, apart from his studies and profes- 
sional labors, was the clearing of a forest tract at Mount 
Scott.'^ Here he felt that he was doing constructive work — 
redeeming the wilderness and preparing it for production. It 
recalled to him, too, the labors of his youth and a thousand 
memories connected with them. He once remarked as we stood 
on the side of Mt. Scott that the odors of burning stumps and 
brush piles carried him back to his boyhood as nothing else 
did. "I suppose" he said, "that where it costs me a hundred 
dollars to clear an acre of this land, its productive value will 
be less than a mere fraction of that sum. But somehow I like 
to do it. First or last it's got to be dobe by somebody and I 
might just as well get the fun out of it." 

The theory that Mr. Scott was unsocial in his nature was 
one of his own pet self-deceptions — perhaps I would better say 
affectations. "Yes," he would often remark, "I am by nature 

21 Seven miles soutbeast center of Portland; named for Mr. Scott in itSg by 
W. P, Keady. 

12[0 Alfred Holman 

solitary !" Then he would sit down on the top of Mr. Bross's 
table or my own and declaim for an hour upon arts and letters, 
or politics or philosophy with the keenest zest. Upon such 
occasions, and they were almost of daily occurrence, all the 
ordinary bars of conventional relationship between senior and 
junior were down. More than once I have said: "Mr. Scott, 
this is mighty interesting and I wish I had nothing to do but 
sit here the rest of the night, but if you expect anything from 
me in tomorrow's paper you have got to get out." ''Yes," he 
would answer, "I suppose I am something of a nuisance but 
as you know I am a solitary man and perhaps I don't realize 
when I impose upon others." The truth is that he was of an 
intensely social disposition, delighting in companionship and 
delightful as a companion. Like every other man of rare mind 
he demanded as an essential condition of pleasurable inter- 
course, understanding and sympathy; and of the former he 
found too little. The range and the gravity of his thought was 
far too wide and too deep for the average man ; therefore, the 
average man bored him. But when the companionship was 
upon even or sympathetic terms, no man could enter into it 
with higher zest. No member of The Oregonian staff of the 
period of the 'eighties will ever forget the occasions when 
Judge Deady'2 or Mr. William Lair Hill,-^ Judge Williams^^ or 
Mr. Asahel Bush-^ would look in upon him. These were men 
of his own stamp, worthy of his steel, and in their company 
the very best of Mr. Scott's mind and the best of his vast 
knowledge was brought into play. 

But quite apart from men of his own intellectual rank, 
Mr. Scott had a considerable group of close personal friends. 
They were without exception men of some native and genuine 

22 Matthew P. Deady, eminent Oregon jurist, born in Talbot county, Md., 
May 12, 1824; died at Portland March 24, 1893. Came to Oregon in 1849. 

23 Mr. Hill is now a resident of Oakland, Cal., was editor The Oregonian 

24 George H. Williams, jurist, attorney-general under President Grant, fore- 
most in reconstruction after civil war, born in New Lebanon, Columbus county, 
N. Y., March 26, 1823; died at Portland April 4, 1910. Came to Oregon in 1853. 

25 Mr. Bush, of Salem, during many years has been one of the striking figures 
in Oregon affairs and is now one of its venerable citizens. Came to Oregon in 
1850; born at Westfield, Mass., June 4, 1824. 




^^^ft ^ 





Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 121 

quality. John Ward,^^ a famous politician of his day, a man 
representative in many ways of things Mr. Scott disliked, was 
nevertheless a close friend. He valued Ward not for pro- 
fundity of knowledge or for graces of character, but for 
his unfailing common sense and for a certain rock-ribbed 
honesty. "I don't like Ward's business," he said to me one 
day, "as you must know. Nevertheless it takes very much of a 
man to be a political boss. Just consider a moment 
what the elementary qualities of his character must be. First 
of all he must have honesty. No man who' tells lies can find 
support in other men. No man who is careless about his word 
can have the respect of other men. No man who lacks loyalty 
can command loyalty. I am pretty much of the opin- 
ion that it takes more of a ma'n to be a good political 
boss than it does to be a bishop. Now your bishop must either 
be a bit of a blank fool or something of a hypocrite. Either 
would be fatal to a political boss. Now, there is Ward ; I have 
known him for thirty years. I would accept his word as final 
with respect to any matter upon which he presumes to have 
knowledge. I would leave uncounted money in his possession. 
I would rather have his judgment upon a question within his 
range than that of any man I know. When it comes to sterling 
qualities combined with working common sense I don't know 
John Ward's equal. And I guess, when it comes to the senti- 
mental side, our bishop hasn't got much on Ward. I would as 
soon leave my estate in his hands as any man I know; and 
I would about as lief he would counsel my boys as 
any clerical brother of our acquaintance. He would 
teach them to tell the truth and to keep faith and to be honest in 
all dealings. Now if there be any better fundamentals for the 
business of life I don't know what they are. Yes, and I do 
flatter myself that I know something about fundamentals — 
a few of the simpler sort." 

There were other men for whom Mr. Scott cherished warm 

26 John P. Ward, still living in Portland, long prominent in Republican 
political affairs; born in Rhode Island June 30, 1833. Came to Oregon in 1863. 

122 Alfred Holm an 

sentiments. The late Judge Struve^^ of Seattle was especially 
a friend of his and there was always an evening of wise and 
hilarious talk when the two came together. Then there was 
the late Sam Coulter,^ a man of quite another type, who inter 
ested Mr, Scott chiefly by a certain receptivity of mind. The 
late F. N. Shurtleff^® was still another to whom Mr. Scott gave 
his friendship on the score of a certain fundamental honesty 
of character. And still another friend was the late Medorem 
Crawford^** who could command Mr. Scott's time even upon 
his busiest day although to no better purpose than to retell the 
familiar stories of his experience as Captain of the Guards 
which accompanied wagon trains across the plains in 1861-63. 

37 Henry G. Struve was born in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, Germany, 
November 17, 1836. He received a thorough academic education prior to coming 
to America, at the age of sixteen. A few months later he came to California, 
and for six years engaged in mining, studying law and newspaper work, most of 
this time in Amador county. In 1859 he was admitted to the bar. In February, 
i860, he came to Vancouver, Washington territory ,and bought the Chronicle, 
which he conducted for about one year. He then began the practke of law, which 
he continued in Seattle until a short time before his death. He made Vancouver 
his home for about eleven years and during that time was elected to several different 
offices — prosecuting attorney, probate judge, both branches of the legislative 
assembly, etc. In 1871 he went to Olympia, and the next year was in charge of the 
Puget Sound Courier for a time, and then was appointed secretary of the territory. 
In 1879 he removed to Seattle and formed a law partnership with John Leary, and 
from time to time J. C. Haines, Joseph McNaught, Maurice McMicken, John B. 
Allen, E. C. Hughes and other strong men made a part of the firm, others having 
been separated from it by death, resignation, etc. There he took an active part 
in public life, politically and in municipal and educational affairs for many years 
and became one of the foremost citizens of the place. He was married in Van- 
couver October 29, 1863, to Lassie F. Knighton, and four children were born to 
them, two sons and two daughters. He retired from active business early in igOii. 
After a brief illness he died in New York City, June 13, 1905. — (C. B. Bagley.) 

28 Samuel Coulter was born in Ohio in 1833. Came across the plains to 
Oregon in 1850, arriving in Oregon City September 12, with $2.00 in his pocket. 
Some time in 1852 he went to Thurston county, Oregon, and took up a donation 
land claim. In 1871 he was appointed collector of internal revenue by President 
Grant for Washington territory. In 1873 he went into the steamboat business on 
Puget Sound; in 1878, in company with C. P. Church, he built the Esmond Hotel, 
Portland; in 1879 he was one of a company to build a part of the Northern Pacific 
railroad from Cheney to Spokane; a little later, in company with two men, Messrs. 
Davids and Buckley, he laid out the town of Bucoda, Washington, and opened u^ 
a coal mine near that place. The name of the town was derived as follows: 

Bu— ckley. 
Co — ulter. 
Da — vids. 
Mr. Coulter died in Seattle July i, 1907, leaving a wife and two sons. — (Geo. 
H. Himes.) 

29 Ferdinand N. Shurtleff came from Washington, D. C, to Iowa. Was mar- 
ried there in 1838, and crossed the plains to Oregon in 1862, locating in Polk 
county. He died in Portland April 6, 1903. He was a Republican politically, and 
was in -the Indian service for a number of years. He was collector of customs 
under President Arthur, 1881; in 1891 he was the manager of the Gettysburg 
Cyclorama at Portland. — (Geo. H. Himes.) 

30 Medorem Crawford was born in Orange county, N. Y., June 24, 1819; 
died Dec. 26, 1891. Came to Oregon in 1842 with Dr. Elijah White. He was 
several times member of the Oregon Legislature. In 1861-3 he was captain of a 
company of soldiers that protected the Oregon trail. He was collector of internal 
revenue at Portland 1865-70; appraiser at Portland 1871-6. 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 123 

Each of these men had some quaHty of nature or some 
association with past times which made him companionable 
to Mr. Scott. If in any one of them there was some whimsical 
quality or habit Mr. Scott saw it clearly enough. He had an 
amusing way of hitting off their foibles. For example, one 
day he came into my room and remarked : "I have got to find 
some way to keep 'Cap' Crawford occupied for about two 
hours. Can't you go out to Chinatown and buy some of the 
very worst cigars that are to be had for money — remember, the 
very worst — I wouldn't run the risk of reforming Crawford's 
taste in cigars." But in spite of this disposition to play upon 
whimsicalities, his tendency was to discover whatever was fine 
in a friend and to pass over with amused tolerance things which 
he would have condemned in others. Where understanding 
was not available he could be content with sympathy and ap- 

I cannot pass from this phase of Mr. Scott's character with- 
out reference to an incident which curiously exhibited the senti- 
mental side of his nature. Between himself and the late Ed- 
ward Failing there was much in common in connection with 
much that was diverse. They were friends on and off for forty 
years, chiefly on the intellectual side of things, for they stood 
upon a common plane of mentality. At one time there had 
been a lapse of relations so profound that for years they passed 
and repassed without recognition. But an incident brought 
them together when both were well past fifty and they saw 
much of each other, easily renewing the bond of early youth. 
I knew Mr. Scott was fond of Mr. Failing but how fond I did 
not realize until the latter's death. Going into Mr. Scott's 
office I said, "I have a sad message, Mr. Scott ; Edward Failing 
died an hour ago."^^ He sat with fixed gaze as if upon noth- 
ing for a full minute, the'n rose and walked to the window, 
took up his field glass and carefully studied the glowing moun- 
tain. He turned toward me with his hands raised. "The last," 
he said "the last of the friends of my youth — the last to call me 
Harvey !" 

31 Jan. 29, 1900; see supra. 

124 Alfred Holman 

In the later years of his life Mr. Scott went much to the East. 
These visits he greatly enjoyed. His reputation, long an estab- 
lished quantity in the professional world, had expanded into 
fame. He stood among the leaders in his profession— a tower- 
ing survival of the older and better fashion in journalism. He 
found too an appreciation among statesmen and men of affairs 
which was gratifying to him. No man of discriminating power 
to whom Mr. Scott ever gave ten minutes time failed to discover 
the qualities of the man. Men like Henry Watterson^^ ^nd 
Whitelaw Reid,^^ with whom he fell i'nto cordial associa- 
tion, quickly saw that here was a mind of high powers. After 
a lifetime of isolation he thus came in his later years familiarly 
into association with leaders in the world of national affairs. 
To the new relationship he brought the zest of one who had 
known little of the gracious phases of life outside his local circle. 
Without his being in the least conscious of it, it opened up to 
him. something approaching a new career. Every man of 
laborious habit is more or less exhilarated under detachment 
from his customary tasks and by association with new people, 
and none more than Mr. Scott. With a pleasure not unmixed 
with pride I recall an evening or two passed with him in New 
York and in distinguished company where in a conversational 
sense he held the center of the stage, bearing himself in it 
with a power and a charm which seemed almost like an effect 
of intoxication. Only a few months before his death the late 
Whitelaw Reid told me of an occasion where Mr. Scott with 
himself and others dined as the guests of Archbishop Corrigan.^* 
"Scott," said Mr. Reid, "came late and was obviously embar- 
rassed by the fact that he had kept the company waiting for 
nearly an hour. His annoyance reacted ib a kind of mental 
exhilaration. We were about twenty at dinner, Mr. Scott sit- 
ting at the left of His Grace. Almost immediately when the 
time for ge'neral talk began a question addressed to him 
by the host brought from Mr. Scott a reply which ex- 
hibited his acquaintance with theological scholarship. The 

32 Editor Louisville Courier- Journal ; long-time friend of Mr. Scott's. 

33 Editor New York Tribune and later Ambassador to Great Britain. 

34 Michael Augustine Corrigan (1839-1902), Archbishop of New York. 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 125 

Archbishop, obviously surprised, pursued the subject. Then 
with absolute unconsciousness, Mr. Scott on the one hand 
and the Archbishop on the other entered into the most extra- 
ordinary discussion I have ever heard. It began about nine 
o'clock and did not end u'ntil near midnight. Hardly another 
man than the host and Mr. Scott spoke a word. Indeed, it was 
practically a monologue on the part of Mr Scott, but in perfect 
taste and surprisingly eloquent. Such a flood of knowledge, 
such a wealth of reflection, such freshness and earnestness of 
mihd I have never seen matched in connection with a subject 
so outside the sphere of ordinary interests. For months after, 
if I chanced to meet anybody who was present at that dinner 
there was sure to be reference to the extraordinary talk. The 
powers of the man and his familiarity with theological matters, 
surprised all of us. We could but marvel that such a man 
could be a product of a pioneer country, living all his life 
remote from the centers of scholarship and of abstract thought." 

It was no doubt due to the conditions of Mr. Scott's early 
life as they have already been outlined that he had, or always 
assumed to have, little sympathy with personal incapacity or 
its consequences. I often thought him too much disposed to see 
the individual deficiencies which lay behind personal distress 
rather than the distress itself. If self-indulgence or wasted 
energies had brought a man to want, Mr. Scott's impulse was 
less to relieve the need than to define the cause of it. He de- 
spised inefiiciency with the whole brood of its causes. Yet he 
was much kinder in deed than in sentiment. More than once 
when applied to for help in the name of charity he would 
declaim with tremendous emphasis against the vices of 
incompetence and end by yielding a do'nation. But broadly 
speaking, his attitude towards grown-up men and women who 
had neglected or dissipated their opportunities in life was 
severely critical. "He has thrown away his chances, laughed in 
the face of counsel, sneered at the lessons of experience — let 
him take the consequences." Something like this was not in- 
frequently heard from Mr. Scott. But he had the tenderest 

126 Alfred Holman 

feeling for childhood. Nothing so aroused him as reports of 
suffering- on the part of children, especially if caused by some- 
body's cruelty 

There was a citizen of Portland, now dead, whom Mr. Scott 
had known in the days when he was cutting wood for Tom 
Charman in Clackamas County. In this man, although they 
had little in common, Mr. Scott always cherished a profound 
interest. "What," I once asked him, "do you find in that man ?" 
He replied : "One day forty years ago up Molalla way as I was 
passing a farm house, I was attracted by the screams of a 
child manifestly in pain. I rushed into the barnyard and there 
fou'nd a boy of perhaps fourteen triced up and under the merci- 
less lash of a beast of a father. This man was that boy. I 
have never been able to get the incident out of my mind. To 
this day my pulse quickens and my gorge heaves when I think 
of it. To me he is always the little boy who was being cruelly 
flogged. I did at the time what the God of righteous ven- 
geance required, then helped the lad to get away from home, 
and my interest has followed him from that day until now." 

Some thirty years ago there appeared one morning in the 
Oregonian a pitiful story of a child abused by a brutal step- 
father on a squalid scow-house up the river near the old pump- 
ing station. The little chap had been whipped with a strap 
to which a buckle was attached and it had cut into his flesh 
until he was gashed from head to foot. Mr. Baltimore^^ of the 
local staff had personally visited the scene and had helped 
rescue the victim of this cruelty, and he had made the account 
painfully graphic. Mr. Scott having read the report at home, 
came to the office in hot wrath. He was furiously im- 
patient for Baltimore's arrival to have the story over again and 
with fuller details. Then he stalked forth in search of the man. 
What he would have done I do not know — I can only guess — 

35 John M. Baltimore crossed the plains in 1863 and grew to manhood near 
Salem. In the early 70s he became reporter on The Oregonian. Later he went to 
San Francisco where he became correspondent of the Western Associated Press. 
In 1883-S he was reporter on The Oregonian and Evening Telegram and in 1888 
became city editor of The Oregonian, succeeding Sam R. Fraser. In 1891 he quit 
The Oregonian and became special writer on the Evening Telegram. In 1896 he 
went to Spokan* and later to Oakland, Cal. He died at San Francisco in Januarr, 


Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 127 

but I think it was well for the beast that he had slunk from 
sight. For days after, Mr. Scott could hardly speak of any- 
thing else. In the midst of his work he would leave his desk 
saying, "I canbot get that terrible picture out of my mind. 
Curses, curses on the base creature !" And out he would stalk 
to regain composure by tramping the hillsides. In multiplied 
other instances Mr. Scott's sympathies for childhood were 
prompt and vehemently declared. He had nothing of mock 
sentiment; indeed he never seemed particularly fond of chil- 
dren other tha'n his own. Yet the distresses of childhood from 
wherever they came, aroused him as nothing else ever did. 

Statesman Mr. Scott was in the truest possible sense; but 
he was never, excepting for a time when he held an admin- 
istrative office, an official factor in governmental affairs. He 
had little respect for ordinary officialism, and none at all for the 
type of mab who contrives by hook or by crook to get himself 
elected to something, or who makes a trade of public office. 
Yet there was always in the background of his mind a certain 
yearning for the opportunities which only official station can 
give. "There is," he was wont to say, "but one platform from 
which a man may speak to the whole American people. A 
senator of the United States, if he have mind with knowledge 
and powers of expression, may have a great audience." But 
while Mr. Scott might again and again have been a senator 
if he had been willing to arrange for it, he could never bring 
himself to do so. In truth, he regarded with supreme con- 
tempt the concessions commonly necessary under our political 
system on the part of one who would take a'n active part in 
the responsible work of national legislation. I am sure that 
in the latter years of Mr. Scott's life if he had been invited, 
under conditions calling for no compromises, that he would 
have been very glad to have represented Oregon in the Senate. 
He would have enjoyed the associations and he would like- 
wise have been glad to bear a part in the discussions of great 
questions. But he could never have yielded to the political 
game the pledges which it demands. Nor would he have given 

128 Alfred Holman 

attention to the multitudinous trivialities with which senators, 
particularly from the newer states, are forever pestered. Within 
two or three years of his death, Mr. Scott was brought to the 
test through a tender on the part of the President of the United 
States of the Ambassadorship to Mexico.^^ And at another 
time he was informally tendered a similarly dignified post in 
oVie of the European countries.^'^ In each instance he declined 
the honor with thanks. When it came to abandonment of his 
customary relationships and responsibilities and his familiar 
ways of life he was not willing to make the sacrifice. I suspect 
it would have bee'n the same in connection with any other office. 
Among Mr. Scott's intimates — among those of us who knew 
him in all the phases of his character — it has always been a 
subject of speculation as to how he would have carried himself 
as a senator. I am frank to say that in my judgment he would 
have failed to satisfy any constituency, like that of Oregon, 
accustomed to a species of more or less eager subserviency on 
the part of officialism. If he could have represented a state 
like New York or Massachusetts where the demands updn 
a senator are of a large intellectual kind, he would have made 
a noble record. But where every man capable of making his 
cross feels at liberty to write to "my senator" for any service 
at Washington from the purveying of garden seeds to the secur- 
ing of a contract for army supplies or the getting of a dissolute 
son out of jail, Mr. Scott would have been a disappointment. 
He simply would bot have done the things required ; and not 
doing them he would have been thought neglectful of senatorial 
duties. Beyond a doubt Mr. Scott would have distinguished 
himself in discussion. While no orator in the conventional 
sense, he could still express himself with mighty force upon 
his feet ; and in prepared argument there has perhaps not bee'n 
a man in the senate during this generation whom he did not 
more than match. But at the point of getting things done — and 
unhappily senators are expected to get thiiigs done — he would 
hardly have been what is called efficient. His habits of mind 

36 Tendered by President Taft in 1909. 

37 Tendered by President Roosevelt in 1905; Minister to Belgium. 


Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 129 

and action were under the inspiration of independence. He 
could never have subordinated himself to the severely partisan 
method of doing things and he would bever have made com- 
promises or have entered into bargains. In the senate I think 
he would have been strong, brilliant, forceful but eccentric 
and I fear, as regards what are called working results, an 
impotent figure. Success in the senate is attained by methods 
wholly outside the lines of his genius and propensity of his 
habit and his sense of propriety. Mr. Scott often remarked 
when efforts were made to stimulate in him the spirit of political 
ambition that he would not "step down" from the editorship 
of The Oregonian into the United States senate. And this was 
no boast ; for the editorship of The Oregonian as it was carried 
by Mr. Scott was truly a higher place, a place of wider re- 
sponsibilities and of larger powers than any official place pos- 
sibly attainable by a man geographically placed as Mr. Scott 

All who, like myself, shared in the advantages of close asso- 
ciation with Mr. Scott are fond of recalling a thousand trivial- 
ities which, small though they are, illustrate certain aspects 
of his character. No man was ever more scrupulous in all 
the essentials of personal habit ; yet he had always a certain 
indifference to appearances. When free from domestic 
discipline — that is, during the absences of his family from 
home — he was wont to be exceedingly careless about his dress. 
Now and again one of us would remind him that he ought 
to get a fresh suit of clothes. Once in response to this kind 
of suggestion he appeared brand new from crown to sole and 
obviously conscious of the quite radical change. "How does 
this suit you?" he asked as he paused in my doorway. It hap- 
pened to be at a time when waistcoats were cut high, barely 
exhibiting the collar and an inch of necktie. But the waistcoat 
of this new suit was extremely low. "Why," I replied, "hasn't 
your tailor cut that vest a little low?" "Well," he replied as 
he sought with a characteristic movement to get it into its 
proper place, "I thought it seemed a bit low, and I remarked 
it to the man, but he insisted, and this is what I got. I sup- 

130 Alfred Holman 

pose one must make some concession to the style." I once re- 
minded him that the braid had wholly disappeared from the 
rim of his hat. "You say the braid is gone ?" he said. "Now, 
don't you see that that hat has reached a perfect development? 
It has got where nothing more can happen to it." Nobody 
can know better than I that these be trivialities ; but they linger 
in memory with a certain sweetness and I venture to 
set them down for what they may be worth as illustrating a 
certain engaging simplicity in one who, the more I see of life, 
looms heroic in my firmament of men. 

I cannot feel that it would be i'n place to speak particularly 
of the domestic side of Mr. Scott's life. He was singularly 
and devotedly a family man — fond of his home, the devoted 
lover of the sweet woman who was his wife, and a father to 
whom no labor or sacrifice was ever a weariness. He was not 
one to find entertainment at clubs, at theatres or at other 
assemblages; his personal interest outside of his office was 
within the four walls of home abd there he spent practically 
every hour that was not given to his labors or to out-of-doors 
recreation of which he was fond. Formidable figure that he 
was in most relationships, he shed his austerities when he hung 
his hat on the hall rack. Many years ago with practically the 
first considerable fu'nd that was available for other than business 
necessities, he built the spacious and dignified house in which 
he lived to his death. He loved to adorn it with art a'nd to 
enrich it with treasures. Yet his taste for other things 
never overbore certain cherished sentiments. In the great 
library in which he passed the larger part of his time, 
the portrait of his father had the place of honor. The shelves 
which held his most valued volumes were made of boards re- 
trieved many years ago from the pioneer house in Tazewell 
County in Illinois built by his father's hands and in which 
himself and his brothers abd sisters were born. I hardly need 
to add that the man whose propensities to domestic life and 
whose family sentiment was so marked a feature of his char- 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 131 

acter suffered nothing — neither his duties nor his studies — ever 
to interfere with the fondest of human obligations. 

It was not Mr. Scott's way to talk much about the sentiments 
which were the spiritual guides of his life and the sources of his 
power. But now and again quite unconsciously there would 
come from him that which revealed the inner springs of the 
man. Of many such utterances I think perhaps that in which 
he set forth the character of the late Judge Williams most 
clearly summarized Mr. Scott's own standards of intellectual 
and moral worth. Of Judge Williams Mr. Scott wrote : 

"In him personal integrity, intellectual sincerity, intuitive 
perception of the leading facts of every important situation, 
quick discernment and faculty of separation of the important 
features of any subject from its incidental and accidental cir- 
cumstances, with clearness of statement and power of argu- 
ment unsurpassed, marked the outlines of his personal char- 
acter. He was a man who never lost his equipoise, nor ever 
studied or posed to produce sensational or startling effects. In 
his private life and demeanor there was the same simplicity of 
character, evenness of judgment and temper andunaffectedness 
of action. His immense powers, of which he himself never 
seemed unaware, were always at his command."^^ 

Here we have not more Mr. Scott's view of Judge Williams 
than a presentment of his own ideals — his own measure of 
a man. 

I come with reluctance to the end of a recital — for I have 
attempted only a recital — of things tending to illustrate the 
character and life of a very extraordinary and very helpful 
man. He came, as we have seen, into leadership of public 
thought in Oregon at a time when the character of the country 
was in the making. His work in journalism lay at the sources 
of a stream of life which grew large under his hand 

38 From an editorial in The Oregonian April s, 1910, the last important article 
written by Mr. Scott. Reprinted in Oregon Historical Quarterly, XI, 223-6. Judge 
Williams died April 4, 1910. 

132 Alfred Holman 

from small beginnings and must now go on expanding through 
indefinite years. It was at a time when great events were 
in the germ. The adjustments which followed the Civil War, 
the relations of the government to the Pacific world, the ar- 
rangements for commerce in this 'new world — these early- 
pressed upon his attention to find in him a conscientious stu- 
dent and an intelligent and practical counselor. Then came the 
period of western development with the momentous issues 
connected with it. Following this came financial issues 
in many phases and forms, questions of alien immigration, ques- 
tions growing out of the populistic movement, of labor organ- 
ization, or socialistic agitation and of ten thousand subjects of 
high public import. To each of these in turn, and to all of 
them recurrently, the mind and hand of Mr. Scott were ad- 
dressed. He shirked no labors, he avoided no issues. He felt 
himself under a high mandate and he carried himself with 
the resolution which responsibility inspires in large minds. To 
changing fashions in journalism, he made almost no conces- 
sion. He could no more have purveyed poisons to the mind 
than he could have fed poisons to the body. For the practices 
'Jn journalism which we nominate "yellow" he had a profound 
detestation. He would have none of it. Whoever might wish 
tor a paper reeking with uncleanliness and pandering, vicious 
or flabby trivialities for the light-minded, might seek else- 
where. Mr. Scott's purposes were serious, his journalism 
always dominated by high purposes and limited by a taste which 
rejected and rebuked all tendencies to carelessness or vulgarity. 
If there were scandalous incidents which must be reported, 
details were minimized and relegated to least conspicuous pages. 
If unpleasant things had to be dealt with it was done, but with 
frankness and decency — in the gentleman's spirit. So by the 
tendencies of his mind, by the gravity of his character, by 
the guides of wisdom, dignity, courage abd taste — Mr. Scott 
planted on high ground and sustained for nearly half a century 
standards of journalism which must for all time be a pattern 
for the worthy and rebuke to the vicious. 

Career and Work of Harvey W. Scott 133 

For myself whose fortune it was to live long in association 
with this rare man, to share in many of the influences and in a 
sense to inherit the inspirations of his life, there seems now a 
mighty void in the immediate world in which he lived. Lover of 
my motherland as I am, let me confess a certain sadness when 
I revisit the home from whence the light of a great character 
has departed. It is as if Mt. Hood were blotted from the 
landscape. Verily, a great force has gone out of the world. 


Born February 1st, 1838, near Peoria, Illinois. 
Left Illinois April 1st, 1852, for Oregon. 
Arrived Oregon City, October 2, 1852. 
Went to Puget Sou'nd, Spring of 1854. 
Served in Indian Wars at Puget Sound, 1855-56. 
Returned to Oregon City, September, 1856. 
Attended Pacific University, December, 1856-April, 1857. 
Attended Academy, Oregon City, Winter of 1858-59. 
Returned to Pacific University, Fall of 1859. 
Graduated Pacific University, 1863. 
Librarian Portland Library, 1864-5. 
Admitted to Oregon Bar, September 7th, 1865. 
Married Elizabeth A. Nicklin, Salem, October 31, 1865. 
Editor Oregonian, April 17, 1865-September 11, 1872; April 
1, 1877-August 7, 1910. 
Collector of Customs, October 1, 1870-May 31, 1876. 
Married Margaret McChesney, Latrobe, Pa., June 28, 1876. 
President Oregon Historical Society, 1898-1901. 
President Lewis and Clark Exposition, 1903-4. 
Death, August 7th, 1910, at Baltimore, Md. 

-Du-cctor Associated Press 1900-1910. 




!By Charles H. Chapman' 

H. W. Scott's intellectual interests were extremely varied. 
His wide reading and habit of deep thought were shown most, 
of course, in his editorials, which touched on every theme and 
were always illuminative; but his conversation also betrayed 
an almost exhaustless knowledge of books, and constant med- 
itation upon their contents. Throughout the course of his long 
life he was a persistent reader and collector of books. Like 
most men of mark, he began to form his library in early life, 
at a time when every volume represented more or less sacrifice.^ 
It is from the books which are thus purchased by a young man 
more perhaps than from the acquisitions of later years, that 
his genuine literary predispositions may be ascertained. When 
he has attained to fortune and wide acquaintance with public 
characters, a man buys books because they are making a noise 
in the world, or because the author has a great scientific repu- 
tation or for a thousand other reasons but in his struggling 
youth he buys them only because he wishes to read them. 
Some of Mr. Scott's earliest acquisitions were histories and 
volumes of the classics. 

His preference for these branches of literature never dimin- 
ished. The catalogue of his library shows that he came into 
possession sooner or later of almost every important historical 
work that has ever been written, not the narrow technical 
essays certainly, but the productions of wide international in- 
terest. He read Greek with the ordinary collegiate skill and 
Latin with much facility so that the great classical historians 

1 Dr. Chapman, himself a noted writer and scholar, is especially qualified to 
appreciate the mind and work of Mr. Scott, both by his own attainments and his 
intimate acquaintance with the late editor. Many years the two men were in con- 
tact, especially during the period of 1904-10, when Dr. Chapman was assistant to 
Mr. Scott as editorial writer. Dr. Chapman's writings entitle him to recognition 
among the ablest of the editor's assistants such as Alfred Holman, Lucius A. 
Bigelow, Frank A. Carle, Ernest Bross and Mrs. Catharine A. Cobum. — (L. M. S.) 

2 This library is preserved as Mr. Scott left it. 

Scholarship and Literary Activity of H. W. Scott 135 

will be found among his books in the original. But in his 
college days the modern languages were less studied than they 
are now, and being a man of his time, he was less versed in them 
than in the ancient tongues. Hence he collected the modern 
histories for the most part in translations. He was one of the 
comparatively small number of present day public men who 
liked to read Gibbon. This most profound of the historians 
Mr. Scott knew familiarly and quoted liberally. Gibbon's ac- 
count of the early church particularly struck his fancy, since, 
as everybody understands, the great Editor inclined to take 
the same views of theology as the philosophical historian did. 

His familiarity with the classics was revealed by everything 
he wrote. He could quote long passages from Vergil ib the 
original and had dozens of lines from Catullus at his tongue's 
end. Not long before he passed away, Mr. Scott began to 
renew his acquaintance with Ovid whom he had read at college 
but somewhat neglected since. It was interesting to see the 
skill with which he rendered the Metamorphoses into English 
and the ease with which he construed lines that have puzzled 
the commentators. He may not always have been correct but 
he never failed to have an opinion and a well grounded one 
at that. Mr. Scott's extraordinarily vigorous English style 
was founded ob his Latin reading. He wrote with all the pre- 
cision of the classical authors and often with more than their 
incisiveness. His Latin taught him to shun that diffusive 
wordiness which is the bane of so much common writing and 
gave him the model for those condensed and forceful sentences 
which never failed to go straight to the mark, and pierce it 
when they struck. We may thank Mr. Scott's classical tastes 
for a great deal of the power over Oregon politics which he 
wielded up to the day of his death. Naturally, mere study of 
the classics would not have accomplished anything if his mind 
had not been of a caliber to benefit by them, but in his case 
the instrument was admirably adapted to its use and needed 
nothing but sharpening. This the Greek and Latin authors 
gave it as nothing else could have done. 

136 Charles H. Chapman 

With the classics Mr. Scott cherished a great fondness for 
ancient history, not only that of Greece and Rome but par- 
ticularly of the older nations. He followed assiduously every- 
thing- that was written about Egypt and the works of the great 
modern Egyptologists will be found among his books. Like 
many superior readers, he was keenly interested in the progress 
of Assyriology. The decipherment of the cuneiform inscrip- 
tions ■ filled him with wonder and he eagerly followed every 
new discovery in that cryptic field. Closely allied to this was 
his fondness for Biblical studies. Very little has ever been 
brought to light by the Higher Criticism which Mr. Scott did 
not master. Naturally of an investigative turn of mind, he 
found endless delight in those marvelous interpretations of the 
Old Testament tales which criticism has provided. The mir- 
aculous in itself made but a slight appeal to him but the scien- 
tific explanation of a reported miracle gave him unqualified 
pleasure. Among his books will be found the best critical 
works of his time both upon the Old Testament and the New. 
The Life of Paul was one of the subjects which interested him 
deeply. In one of his best editorials he explained elaborately 
the use which Paul made of the Roman principle of adoption in 
propagating early Christianity. Referring to the famous text, 
'Tf children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with 
Christ," he showed how the apostle bent the concept of the 
Roman law to his purpose and made his religion acceptable to 
the rulers of the world by assimilating it to their legal pre- 
conceptions. The purport of the editorial was that Paul had 
most skilfully applied his own theory that a good propagandist 
ought to be all things to all men. 

Mr. Scott's editorials betray everywhere his wide reading 
in the publicists. The abstract theory of law and speculations 
On the basis of government occupied his mind a great deal. 
Burke was his favorite author in this field but he read many 
others. Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France" 
was one of the many books which he seemed to have by heart 
and its doctrines pervaded all he wrote. Next to Burke, Mr. 
Scott probably revered the political authority of Alexander 

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Scholarship and Literary Activity of H. W. Scott 137 

Hamilton whom he constantly exalted above Thomas Jefferson. 
He was in sympathy with the Hamiltonian theory of nation- 
alized governmental powers and checks upon the popular will. 
His acquaintance with the American revolutionary authors 
was profound. Their political views were attractive to him as a 
matter of course but he lound a great deal of other matter in 
them with which to sympathize. Madison's love of religious 
liberty, for example, found a ready echo in Mr. Scott's heart. 
No man ever detested theological tyranny more than he while 
at the same time he deeply revered the fundamental principles 
of religion. In his writings the distinction between theology 
and religion is constantly brought forward. 

Most of the great books on free thought will be found in his 
library. Milton's prose works, Richard Hooker's Ecclesiastical 
Polity, Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding and books 
of that caliber he had read attentively and made their contents 
part of his mental possessions. Voltaire was not among his 
particular favorites. He inclined to Carlyle's judgment of 
the great French freethinker, that he was somewhat shallow 
and more disposed to tear down than build up. But upon the 
whole his views coincided with those of the British liberals 
in theology and the skeptics of all ages fou'nd him a sympathetic 
reader of their books. Naturally with tastes like these Mr. 
Scott could not escape the fascination of metaphysics. Among 
his books the famous philosophers all find a place. As has 
been intimated already, his personal views were inclined to 
those of Locke and the "common sense" school in general but 
his sympathies included all sorts of speculation. He u'nder- 
stood Berkeley's theory and liked to trace its history through 
its many devious forms until it finally appeared transformed 
into Christian Science. He was familiar with William James's 
Psychology and thoroughly understood its religious and polit- 
ical consequences, but Pragmatism appeared a little too late 
to win his interest. His health began to fail at about the time 
when James introduced Bergson to American readers. 

From what has been said it will appear that Mr, Scott was 
fond of "solid reading." This is true but not exclusively. A 

138 Charles H. Chapman 

person who did not understand the breadth of his sympathies 
and the catholicity of his taste would be surprised to see the 
number of novels in his library. The ''best sellers" of his 
later years are missing but most of the fiction that has stood 
the test of time is on his shelves. His favorite was Thackeray. 
Very likely there was no novelist that he cared for so much 
as he did for Burke or Shakespeare, but he had read the best 
of them, as he had the best of everything. He k'new the 
Biblical stories better than any others. Mr. Scott's knowledge 
of the Bible was exhibited at every turn. He could hardly 
write a column without half a dozen allusions to the sacred 
text. The Bible and Shakespeare always lay on his desk and 
he used both of them constantly. Much of the vigor of his 
English style was due to his memory of Scriptural expres- 
sions. Perhaps he owed more to that source than he did to 
the classics. He was always pleased to have Biblical subjects 
touched upon in The Oregonian and frequently discussed them 
himself. When he did so his knowledge made what he said 

His memory of poetry was astonishing. He could quote 
page after page of Paradise Lost. Burns's songs were at his 
tongue's end. He knew the finest passages in Faust and loved 
Tennyson. The English and classical poets were equally 
familiar to him, but it was Shakespeare that he read most and 
quoted constantly. He was never at a loss for a line from the 
great dramatist to illustrate a point or clinch a witticism. His 
library contains all the celebrated editions of Shakespeare down 
to the Furness set with its voluminous notes and readings. Mr. 
Scott found a mild pleasure in the vagaries of the Baconians, 
as they style themselves, but their arguments never made any 
impression upon his mind. He always maintained that Shake- 
speare "wrote his own plays" and never conceded that any 
other hypothesis was tenable. He was as conscious as any- 
body could be that there was a great mystery surrounding the 
production of poetry so marvellous by a man with opportunities 
in life so slender but that consideration never weakened his 
faith in the Bard of Avon. 

Scholarship and Literary Activity of H. W. Scott 139 

In the course of his hfe Mr. Scott collected one of the largest 
private libraries in the Western United States. It was the 
result of wide and varied culture, catholic tastes and rare op- 
portunities to discover and acquire what was best. From his 
youth he was an omnivorous reader and his memory was equal 
to his hunger for books. He seldom forgot a passage. What- 
ever he had seen in print he could quote, often years after- 
ward. He always knew precisely what books contained the 
information he needed at any moment and usually they were 
in his own collection. To one who understands and loves 
books Mr. Scott's library gives a better account of his life and 
thought than any biographer could write. 


B\f Dean Collins 

Across the doorway to the dim unknown 

Fate's hand the somber curtains draws at last, 

Where, from the teeming world of men, alone 

And unafraid, a mighty Soul has passed ; 

One who, by his indomitable will, 

Into the ranks where deeds are done, had pressed 

Upreared himsef among his fellows till 

He moved a power in the growing West. 

Lament, O Oregon ; Death takes from thee 

His priceless toll, and grimly passes on ; 

But one whose hand wrought in thy destiny 

Is, in the shadow of that passage, gone. 

A master spirit housed ib mortal clay — 

Lo, with his death, a giant passed away ! 

Dallas, Oregon. 




Bj> Leslie M. Scott 


I. Pioneer Influence on the Writings. 

II. Intellectual Range of Mr. Scott. 

III. Literary and Historical Essays. 

IV. Religious and Theological Topics. 
V. Sound Money: 

(a) Long Fight Against Fiatism. 

(b) Greenbackism. 

(c) Free Coinage of Silver. 
VI. Reconstruction After Civil War. 

VII. Negro and South. 
VIII. National Idea: 

(a) Its Progress After Civil War. 

(b) Rival Doctrines of Hamilton and Jefferson. 
IX. Expansion of National Territory. 

X. Tariff, Revenue and "Protection." 

XI. Chinese Exclusion. 

XII. Coxey Armies. 

XIII. Individualism: 

(a) In Morals. 

(b) In Industry. 

XIV. Socialism: 

(a) Analysis of Its Doctrines. 

(b) Spread of Governmental Function. 

(c) Single Tax on Land. 
XV. Evils of Large Wealth. 

XVI. The "Oregon System." 
XVII. Local Controversies: 

(a) Railroad Disputes. 

(b) Mortgage Tax. 

(c) High Cost Living. 
XVIII. Ethics of Journalism. 

XIX. His Devotion to the Public Interest. 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 141 

This review of Mr. Scott's work is based on a collection of 
some ten thousand articles written by him in the course of his 
long and busy life. Yet even this seemingly large number is 
small in comparison with the author's great output. It is no 
easy task to summarize the collection in the space here allotted ; 
quite impossible to detail it minutely. Therefore we shall 
treat only most important general subjects, or rather^ favorite 
ones of the Editor's writing. And first let us note the pre- 
dominating idea of his editorial productions — his devotion to 
individual function and duty. This motive of the pioneer era 
he bespoke probably more forcefully than any other writer of 
his generation. 


As each man's character is formed by ancestral and youthful 
environment, it may be interesting to note the conditions which 
molded the life of Mr. Scott. From his pioneer heritage of 
the Western frontier he derived his vigor of utterance and per- 
sonality. From this same experience he found his democratic 
sympathies ; perceived 'national tendencies ; gained breadth of 
view, which he extended by reading; learned humble toils and 
frugalities ; brought himself close to feelings of Western folk 
and acquired the principles of self-dependence and individual 
responsibility which mark all his work. He was a self-made 
man, had made his way as a youth, unaided, and gained rudi- 
ments of an education through his own energies. It was but 
natural, therefore, that he continually urged habits of self-help 
on the later generation. 

Mr. Scott was an individualist in personal habit, in precept, 
in lessons of industry, sobriety, economy — in all that works 
for personal thrift; an individualist in. parental discipline of 
the home ; an individualist in face of growing demands for 
"community help" and government paternalism. This ever- 
present idea in his writings will afford basis of understanding 
for his readers who may think back on what he published day 
by day or who may examine his articles hereafter. 

142 Leslie M. Scott 

Let it be remembered that the American frontiersman and 
pioneer expected to overcome obstacles in their path, alone. 
In time of savage warfare, they united, but this necessity was 
only occasional. When a barn was to be "raised" they met 
together, but this was quite in the nature of a "social function." 
For mutual protection, they sometimes "crossed the plains" in 
organized companies, but with danger absent, they chose to 
travel in small parties or alone. They supported community 
schools, but it is testimony of survivors that children learned 
rudiments of education chiefly at home. The whole mode of 
life of the Pioneer West taught each person and each married 
couple to work out their own fortune and to be responsible 
for their own spiritual salvation. It never occurred to them 
that the community owed anybody a living. Government was 
not depended upon to give a "lift" nor to create a "job" nor 
to regulate health or morals or wages, nor to pension the un- 

That this mode of life developed a hardy race needs but bare 
mention here. It brought out resourcefulness, initiative, self- 
reliance. It fostered the democratic spirit, raised high the level 
of public and private morals. It barred caste and discontent 
of older communities. It is manifest that best traits have come 
out of the West. Mr. Bryce has said "The West is the most 
American part of America." And a remark of another writer 
is equally true : "America was bred in a cabin" — a dwelling of 
logs, symbolizing the rough strength of the people. 

Out of such life came the later Editor, Mr. Scott, in Taze- 
well County, central Illinois. His grandfather, James Scott, 
was the first settler in Groveland Township in 1824, from Ken- 
tucky. Mr. Scott's father, John Tucker Scott, twenty years 
later thought of moving to Texas, as James had moved to Illi- 
nois, but instead came to Oregon, in 1852. The six or seven- 
year-old son — the editor-to-be — wondered if Texas was a less 
chilly abode and asked: "Father, is Texas a tight house?" 
This question indicates the simplicity of the pioneer dwelling. 
With the family of John Tucker Scott came to Oregon sturdy 
principles of morality and industry, which invigorated the 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 143 

career of the editor. Mr. Scott always took sentimental interest 
in matters of Oregon history. His writings on these subjects 
make a valuable collection. At some future time it is the pur- 
pose of the present writer to give them publication. These 
subjects held him with the filial attachments of a son toward his 
forebears. Mr. Scott delighted to lay aside even most pressing 
tasks to "talk over" old times or to greet companions or con- 
temporaries of his youth. His sanctum door was open to such 
visitors oftentimes when others could not gain entrance and 
when his newspaper work suffered for the interruption. Once, 
George H. Himes, meeting Mr. Scott when the latter was under 
heavy pressure of business, hastened to say that John Forbes,* 
of Olympia, a companion of Mr. Scott's in Captain Swindall's 
company in the Indian war of 1855-6, was in Portland. "John 
Forbes !" "John Forbes !" exclaimed Mr. Scott. "Bring him to 
see me!" "But," hesitated Mr. Himes, "you're so busy." 
"Never mind, never mind ! Bring him up !" A similar inter- 
view preceded an appointment for Bill Ruddell.^ On each 
occasion Mr. Scott abandoned his editorial tasks and gave up a 
long period to the interview. 


Mr, Scott was conspicuously a reader as well as a writer. 
His library was his place of recreation; to companionship of 

1 John Butchard Forbes, born in Dundee, Scotland, May 14, 1833. Came 
to the United States in 1834, settled in New Jersey, moved to Illinois in 1844. 
Started with his brother David across the plains on April 13, 1853, arriving at 
The Dalles Sept. 25. Soon afterwards went to Olympia. Followed lumbering, 
farming and steamboating. Was in Indian war of 1855-56, under Captain Calvin 
W. Swindall, commander of Co. F, Washington Territory Volunteers. In July, 
1856, associated with Thomas W. Glasgow and Daniel J. Hubbard, he bought a 
Buffalo Pitts threshing machine of H. W. Corbett, Portland, for $1,150, shipped it 
to Monticello by steamer, then knocked it down and shipped it piecemeal in 
canoes to Cowlitz Landing, and threshed for Cowlitz farmers. In June-July, 1857, 
this machine was taken to Puget Sound. This was the first thresher and sep- 
arator north of the Columbia river. Capacity, under the most favorable circum- 
stances, 500 bushels in 12 hours. Mr. Forbes was married to Lydia Croghan in 
August, 1856, but she died within a year or two. He died several years ago. 
(George H. Himes.) 

2 William Hendry Ruddell, born near Quincy, Adams county, 111., Nov. 7, i839- 
Went to Missouri in 1842, settling in Schuyler county. Crossed the plains to 
Oregon in 1851, and spent the winter near the present town of Catlin, Cowlitz 
county. In the summer of 1852 the Ruddell family removed to Thurston county, 
then in Oregon, and settled on a D. L. C. six miles east of Chambers prairie, six 
miles south of east of Olympia. He was married to Miss Helen Z. Himes 
Feb. 21, 1864. His occupation was that of a farmer and stock raiser. Moved 
to Elma, Chehalis county, Washington, in the spring of 1879. Died March 13, 
1903. Served during the Yakima Indian war of 1855-56 in the Pioneer company 
commanded by Capt. Joseph White, and afterwards by Capt. U. E. Hicks. Was 
a member of the Elma town council for several years. 

144 Leslie M. Scott 

his books he devoted large part of his daily life. His reading 
was constant and unflagging to his last days. Never for long 
did he engage in conversation, except during after-dinner 
periods, when surrounded by friends or members of his family. 
That was his social intercourse. These intellectual after-feasts 
covered widest range of religion, history and literature, nature 
and spirit, matter and mind. The great storehouse of his 
memory yielded allusions and quotations which charmed his 
auditors with their versatility. At such times, the Editor truly 
unfolded the greatness of his mind, the universality of his 
talents, the accuracy of his memory, the maturity of his scholar- 
ship. Many were his philosophical and theological disquisi- 
tions ; his narratives of great men and great events ; his dis- 
courses on Shakespeare and Milton and Homer and Goethe 
and Dante and others too numerous for mention here. His 
touches on the moral and the spiritual delighted his hearers. 
He could talk on most intricate doctrinal subjects; none could 
speak more precisely on Fall of Man or Resurrection or Atone- 
ment. But he preferred reflections on daily good conduct and 
non-dogmatized deity. In these conversations his sincerity, 
humility and docility of spirit would have surprised the ortho- 
dox who, perhaps, that very day had stirred his resistance by 
their dogmatic efiforts to repress him. Along with his fine 
literary, historical and religious perceptions, he possessed much 
practical sense for every-day affairs in these discourses. Never 
did he soar away with dreams or ideals that he forgot life's 
earthly matters. 

These periods of his relaxation lasted an hour or two hours ; 
then back he went to his desk or his books. The chief lesson 
of his daily life was his economy of time and effort. He enter- 
tained rarely and joined social gatherings seldom. Many per- 
sons thought him unsociable, reticent, taciturn, severe ; whereas 
his were the direct opposite of all those traits. Without such 
habits he could not have covered the vast areas where his studies 
took him. His singleness of aim and unity of pursuit were 
to equip his mind with copious supply for his daily writings. 
These matters are mentioned here to show that Mr. Scott's 





Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 145 

writings, admirable though they are in the collection, omit 
much of his intellectual output. 


Most delightful of Mr. Scott's productions were his frequent 
writings on subjects of literature, history, and theology. These 
marked him as one of the ablest essayists of his day. Seldom 
does a scholar become a powerful editor. Scarcely any of 
the great editors have been great scholars. The editor of 
practical affairs, idealistic sense and scholarly attainment is the 
rarest combination. But such a combination was Mr. Scott. 
Amid his busiest work, dealing with current affairs, he would 
insert a frequent article on some phase of the genius of Shakes- 
peare or on a theme of Milton, or Te'nnyson, or Cervantes, or 
one of a host of others. These commentaries on literary mat- 
ters, so remote from centers of scholarship, were objects of 
surprise and admiration the country over. No man could 
have afforded his community wider variety of reading than 
did Mr. Scott. His favorite books were the Bible and Shakes- 
peare, Milton and Burke. He re-read these constantly and 
had their contents always at command. Napoleon and Crom- 
well were special objects of his study and frequent subjects 
of his pen. British and French history were as familiar to 
him as that of his native country. His comments on foreign 
politics he spiced with historical references. The rivalry of 
European peoples gave scope for favorite themes of "Race 
Rivalry a Force of Progress," and "Potent Agency of War 
in Human Progress." For in Mr. Scott's view, strong and 
aggressive nations are the ones that arm and take and grow ; 
war is the nursery of national strength; as injustice is always 
armed, so must justice be; without war despotism would be 
permanent and evil inveterate ; the way to peace is not through 
non-resistance but through preparedness for war; they who 
can't fight can't live except in subordination; no morality, no 
ideals, not backed with arms, can be worth anything ; "so it has 
always been, and so it will be always, and forevermore" (Jan. 
5, 1905). 

146 Leslie M. Scott 


The favorite branch of his historical study was theology. 
To this study he brought a reverent, tolerant mind; also a 
rational interpretation that would not be deterred by protest 
of theologians who resented "invasion" of their sphere. His 
reading was so wide, his acquaintance with greatest scholars on 
historical religion was so extensive, that he could wage the- 
ological polemics to discomfiture of any orthodox.^ He only 
defended his views, however, never attacked belief or dogma 
or creed, unless his inquiries were assailed. He never sought 
to "upset" any religion nor to dissuade from any belief ; toward 
persons who found comfort in any church he was always con- 
siderate and sympathetic. But he thought that historical and 
rational study was not responsible for error or superstition 
that it revealed. Those persons who knew him well, knew his 
sincerity, his reverence for the universal idea of men toward 
deity. Among his friends and admirers were theologians of 
many divergent sects. Archbishops Gross'* and Christie^, the 
third and fourth heads of the Catholic faith in Oregon, re- 
garded his writings with tolerant and admiring view. The 
Rev. Arthur J. Brow'n,® pastor of the leading Presbyterian 
Church in Portland, himself a clergyman of scholarship, made 
frequent friendly calls at Mr. Scott's editorial rooms. Many 
leaders of Methodism held him in high regard and on October 
10, 1908, he delivered an address in their leading church in 
Portland, at its semi-centennial celebration. At one period 
he was a regular contributor to the Pacific Christian Advocate 
(Methodist) and was on intimate terms with most of its suc- 
cessive editors. Oh June 15, 1906, he delivered an 
address at Salem on Jason Lee and early Method- 
ism in Oregon. Many years before, Methodists had 
chosen him President of Portland University. Rabbi J. Bloch^ 

3 These subjects made up the most extensive department of Mr. Scott's large 

4 Most Rev. W. H. Gross, Archbishop of Oregon City, 1885-98. 

5 Most Rev. Alexander Christie, Archbishop of Oregon City, 1899 — 

6 Rev. Dr. A. J. Brown, installed pastor. First Presbyterian church, Portland, 
May 9, 1888; resigned March 14, 1895, to become secretary of Board of Foreign 
Missions, Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., New York City. 

7 Rabbi J. Bloch, head of Congregation Beth-Isra€l, Portland, 1884-1901. 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 147 

and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise^ of Portland, noted leaders of Jew- 
ish thought, found much satisfaction in his writings. Rev. 
Roland D. Grant,^ of the Baptists, opened his pulpit to Mr. 
Scott on Thanksgiving Day, 1895, for the best utterance Mr. 
Scott ever made on the subject of religion. In Congregational 
circles Mr. Scott found congenial association and with 
that church maintained a nominal affiliation. His friendly 
relations with Rev. T. L. Eliot,^*^ Unitarian, began with the ar- 
rival of the latter in Portland in 1867 and lasted until Mr. 
Scott's death. The Christian Science following liked the 
tolerant spirit of Mr. Scott, and extended to him the privilege 
of their platform for an address,^^ on November 15, 1903. Al- 
though these several sects represented diverging doctrines and 
his historical and rational studies startled the theologians of 
each in turn, yet most of them perceived him an exponent of 
modern scholarship in its inevitable trend toward a truer and 
fuller expression of religious faith. Ever present in his thought 
was the motto, "The form of religion passes ; the substance is 
eternal." Men's battles of opinion were over the forms. "The 
religious nature of man continually struggles for expression/' 
he said in his Thanksgiving day address in 1895, "and its man- 
ner of expression changes from age to age. Yet we call each 
formulated, transitory expression a creed, as if it were to be 
permanent, and often contend for that creed as if it were the 
absolute truth ; but it passes into something else in the next 
ages. Yet the religious feeling is the permanent force in the 
nature of man." 

Occasionally there was protest from a clergyman who feared 
the Editor's inquiries were sapping the strength of belief in 
particular sects. In 1909 the head of one of the largest church 
denominations wrote Mr. Scott a letter saying that his articles 
were "cutting the ground from under the feet" of his church. 

8 Rabbi S. S. Wise, head of same congregation, 1901-6; now officiates at Free 
Synagogue, New York City. 

9 Rev. R. D. Grant, pastor First Baptist church, Portland. 

10 Dr. Thomas Lamb Eliot (1841 — •) was pastor First Unitarian church in Port- 
land until 1 89 1 and has since been pastor emeritus. He has been active in public 
benevolent enterprises. 

11 In this address Mr. Scott introduced Septimus J. Hanna, of Chicago. 

148 Leslie M. Scott 

The Editor's response, by private letter, dated August 3, 1909, 
was the last comprehensive statement of his life study on this 
subject. As it epitomizes his opinions so completely, it is 
offered here in part: 

"The Oregonian '^assails' no religion nor religious belief. It 
does not, however, deem itself forbidden to inquire into the 
concepts of religion or of theological systems — especially of 
such as most persistently urge their 'claims' on public atten- 
tion. The Oregonian under my hand, has dealt with these sub- 
jects, as an incident of its work, these many, many years; very 
inadequately, I know — yet not to the dissatisfaction of the 
great multitude of its readers. 

"You, of course, it would not expect to please, since one who 
deems his own creed or formula the last word on religion 
can scarcely be expected to open his mind to other or dis- 
sentient views. Your position requires you to profess an in- 
fallibility. The Oregonian makes no such pretension. It 
simply wishes to apply the tests of reason, of experience, of 
judgment, and of such knowledge as history affords from the 
manifestations of the religious principle in man, to some of 
the phases of the thought and inquiry of our time. 

"Christianity is a fact and it is to be accounted for. You 
account for it in one way, I in another. You rest on the 
miraculous and supernatural; I do not — nor do I think there 
is wickedness in any inquiry into the origin of theological or 
ecclesiastical concepts, or in comparison of religions with each 
other, with a view to discovery of a common principle in all. 

"Your assumption that it is not a proper province of a 
newspaper to touch a subject which clergymen (or some of 
them) claim as their exclusive field, I cannot admit; more 
especially since, as a newspaper man, in active touch with the 
public mind during more than forty years, I have found no 
feature of the Oregonian's work more sought or approved 
than in the field from which you would bar it. I am old enough 
and have had experience enough to tender advice also ; and I 
must assure you that you ought to begin to know, even if you 
can't acknowledge, that the greater part of mankind, even 
of the so-called Christian world, has a profound tendency to- 
wards a rational, historical and comparative view and inter- 
pretation of religions in their various forms — the Christian 
religion included with the rest. Dogma can no more support 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 149 

the mythical element in one religion than in another. The 
time is coming when Christianity will abandon the effort alto- 
gether; but its last stronghold will be the Roman Catholic 


Most persistent and successful of his many editorial efforts, 
was his perennial fight for "sound money." In this work he 
bespoke the intensity of the nationalizing purpose of the coun- 
try. The contest for fiat money began as one of state sover- 
eignty, involving local issues of note currency; with state 
rights conquered in the Civil War, the idea endured in ques- 
tions involving payment of the war debt ; surviving that strug- 
gle came "Repudiation" of 1866-70, — that is, payment in de- 
preciated greenbacks — and then free silverism, which meant 
payment in debased silver coinage. Also surviving the war 
came demand for abolition of national bank currency, which 
had supplanted state bank notes. And breeding out of the 
mania was a train of numerous delusions about need of ''more 

Not yet thirty years of age, when the "sound money" ques- 
tion sprang up after the Civil War, possessing no experience 
in banking or finance, new in his profession of Editor, and 
far distant from the centers of the country's discussion, Mr. 
Scott yet applied principles and judged current issues with 
remarkable precision. His articles reveal wonderful acumen 
for an author so young. On every financial issue he "started" 
right and subsequent events vindicated his views. 

Throughout his newspaper life Mr. Scott was writing on 
currency and coin ; almost daily he treated some matter of 
financial policy with application to Western life. His writings 
on these topics are models of directness, clearness and resource- 
fulness. The fruitage of his long struggle was the victory of 
the gold standard in the Oregon elections of 1896, in the face 
of tremendous popular prejudice and seeming defeat. This 
victory in Oregon was attributed to Mr. Scott by friend and 
foe and broadened his national fame. 

150 Leslie M. Scott 

The American people have always been harassed with the 
"more money" fiat delusion. Among no other people has there 
been more absurd governmental interference with currency, 
affecting values, promoting speculation and upsetting confi- 
dence. Bitter lessons have been theirs with fiat currency, in 
colonial times, revolutionary and confederation periods, early 
years of national life and during and after the Civil War. 
The delusion has possessed one generation after another that 
currency is capital ; that citizens can be made prosperous with 
cheap substitutes for gold money. Even yet, the insidious fiat 
notion persists, though in lesser degree, than heretofore. Silver 
and paper currency was of doubtful redeemability until the 
gold standard was secured in 1896 and 1900. Only strong, re- 
cuperative powers of the Nation have prevented overthrow 
of the gold standard of value and the good faith of the gov- 

However much of the greatness of the American Nation 
has come out of the progressive spirit of the pioneer West, 
however puny or different the American State would have 
been without the stimulus coming out of the land toward the 
setting sun, it is fair to say that out of this expanding land 
came also the financial and monetary heresies that have afflicted 
its politics, business and industry. The virile race of the West, 
restive under its poverty, confused capital with money, falsely 
thinking that, if currency be multiplied, capital could be multi- 
plied also. 

Himself, a son of the West, Mr. Scott knew its mind as 
to money and capital as intimately as any man could know it. 
This knowledge equipped him to cope with it in his skillful 
way. Perhaps no other writer of the day equalled him in this 
perception and in ability to meet it. His struggle through 45 
years was laborious, distasteful to himself, creative of personal 
animosities. He estranged his closest friends by sharp criti- 
cisms of their advocacy of silver coinage. But he regarded that 
issue the most critical in the country's industrial history and 
he could not be deterred from his duty by matters of friend- 
ship. His appeals reached the sober thought of the Common- 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 151 

wealth and Oregon finally surprised the Nation by supporting 
the gold standard and rejecting Bryan after its politicians and 
office holders during many years had been committing the 
State to silver. 

Money is to be gained from work, he used to repeat in his 
newspaper, not from the government's printi'ng presses nor 
from the stamping machine of the mint. Best money will be 
abundant enough if not driven out by cheap "money" — de- 
preciated paper or debased silver. "Reasonable men do not 
expect to obtain money," he said, "unless they have something 
to give for it, either labor or goods. If money is to be easily 
had without effort, it will have little value. If best money is 
hard to earn, the people will not be benefited by cheap money. 
The only real money is gold. They cannot improve by issuing 
doubtful substitutes for it and declaring by law the substitutes 
just as good. To be just as good as gold they must be payable 
in gold." 


Right after the Civil War came the contest over payment 
of the war debt, then amounting to nearly three billion dollars. 
"Contraction" of the greenback debt, $433,000,000— retire- 
ment of legal tender notes — made the first controversy. But 
these debt notes have continued from that day to this, an ever- 
present menace to stability of the nation's credit and currency. 
The ablest financiers of both political parties have urged their 
retirement. The young Editor took solid ground, therefore, 
when he insisted that these notes were not "money" but evi- 
dences of debt ; that their withdrawal would not diminish the 
"circulating medium" but increase it and promote confidence ; 
that their continuance necessitated heavy gold reserve for re- 
demption and was a costly menace to government credit. Their 
use, he pointed out, tempted to evils of inflation. These evils 
he displayed clearly and often, both when greenbacks were at 
discount, prior to the year 1879, and later when this credit cur- 
rency and silver coinage were shaking the monetary stability 
of the government. 

152 Leslie M. Scott 

Resisting- "contraction" of greenbacks, Democrats also op- 
posed redemption of such notes, or any of the nation's debt, 
in gold. They likewise fought conversion of greenbacks into 
bonds. Led by George H. Pendleton and sustained by Presi- 
dent Johnson, they wished to pay bonds and other debt paper 
in more greenbacks, especially printed for the purpose, then 
much below par. They also wished to tax government bonds 
despite a direct pledge of law that they should be tax free. 
Pendleton was defeated on these issues. 

The policy of "repudiation" of the public debt by payment 
in depreciated currency, instead of in full-value gold, was 
hotly contested. Mr. Scott insisted that the government should 
pay its obligations in full in g-old — both principal and interest 
— for thus only could the government keep faith ; that the debt 
exchanged for notes, would not be paid, because the notes 
must still be paid ; and that the notes could not be made as 
good as gold coin unless redeemable in gold coin. The young 
Editor had the satisfaction of seeing advocates of repudiation 
defeated in 1868-9. 

It was no argument to the Editor that large part of the 
government debt was owing speculators who had bought the 
claims at discount. Against numerous schemes for scaling 
down the debt he used the vigor of his pen, with constant ap- 
peals to national honor. He cited that the same sophisms were 
then used against full payment of government obligations as 
after the Revolutionary War. "The scheme at that time was 
called 'scaling down the debt,' " he wrote December 6, 1867, 
''and though it was pressed with vigor and importunacy, it 
signally failed. Our fathers refused to sanction any such dis- 
reputable plan of virtual repudiation. Cannot the repudiators 
of today learn honesty as well as wisdom from the fathers 
of our government?" And again November 18, 1867: "The 
proposition to pay the national debt in greenbacks is simply a 
proposition to take away an interest-bearing security from 
those who purchased in good faith the bonds of the national 
government, and substitute for it a security that bears no 
interest. It would be equivalent to the act of a debtor taking 


Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 153 

away from his creditor a mortg-age note bearing interest, and 
giving in its stead a due bill bearing no interest." 

Against greenbackism, he was continually referring to pay- 
day or redemption. The integrity of currency notes, he was 
always saying, depends on purpose and ability of the govern- 
ment to redeem them in gold coin — not in depreciated paper 
promises. Of the plan to print enough greenbacks to take up 
the national debt — this was the programme of "greenbackism," 
— he wrote : 

February 18, 1878 — "This would be a thorough and logical 
method of carrying out the greenback scheme. It would simply 
be repudiation of the entire debt ; for there would be no hope 
that so great an amount of greenbacks would be redeemed ; 
no time for redemption would or could be specified and as 
holders would receive no interest the greenbacks would not 
possess a single quality of value." 

August 31, 1892 — "While it is true that government may 
issue paper and call it money, yet it is with government as 
with the individual — that which costs nothing is worth nothing. 
There is no juggle in values. Many who see the paper bill, 
forget that there is value behind it, stored up in gold or silver ; 
but the value is there, and this is what gives the paper note 
the function and character of money. Increase the paper notes 
beyond redeemability and their value is gone or impaired alto- 
gether. Among all nations and in all ages where this has been 
tried, the result has been the same." 

April 8, 1898 — "The truth is, we buy only with gold coin, 
to which alone the name of money ought to be applied. No 
bank note, treasury note or paper certificate, in any form or 
by whomsoever issued, is more than an instrument of credit. 
It is an order and a security (so long as the party issuing it 
is solvent) for a sum of money and is good for the sum it calls 
for, only so long as gold can be obtained for it . . . . We 
have more of the notes now than formerly, because we have 
more gold to stand for them ; and we have more gold because 
we have ceased to expel gold from the country or to drive it 
into hiding at home by ceasing the threat of free coinage of 
silver and by stopping the purchase of silver for issue of 
paper upon it." 

154 Leslie M. Scott 

The right system of currency, he said, would be patterned 
after those of the great nations of Europe, which employ the 
medium of a great central bank. But Mr. Scott knew full well 
the popular prejudice in the United States against the central 
bank system and did not hope for restoration of the Hamilton 
plan of government credit, which he always defended. Per- 
ceiving the futility of overcoming this prejudice he had little 
hope that the American currency system soon could be brought 
to needed efficiency. The "fundamental error" of our currency 
he pointed out as follows (March 8, 1908) : "There is a fun- 
damental error in our monetary system. It is the parent of all 
other errors that beset the system. This error is the fiat notion 
of money . . . But these notes are not money. They 
are merely substitutes for money whose value depends on their 
redeemability in gold or the prospect of it . . . This, it is 
asserted, is cheap money, for it costs nobody anything. But 
the government's fiat money is dearest of all forms of currency. 
It requires gold to be banked up in enormous sums for its 
protection . . . It is an impeachment of the intelligence 
that tolerates such a financial or monetary system. . . The 
Treasury is simply warehousing gold against its own obliga- 
tions. . . . With the enormous sum of one billion dol- 
lars in gold held by the Treasury under our inelastic and im- 
movable system, we are unable to keep circulation afoot. Every 
now and then it congeals, freezes up, simply stops. But the 
Bank of France and the Bank of Germany make their gold 
support a paper currency twice in excess of the proportion of 
our own." 

The great need, he said, in order to give control and steadi- 
ness to financial affairs and the currency system, is a central 
bank and branches modeled after the United States Bank 
founded by Hamilton in 1791, and after government banks of 
Europe. On November 23, 1909, he wrote: 

"Our people, believing they can regulate by their votes, the 
value of money, and calling notes issued by authority of the 
government, money, will not permit any rational currency or 
rational banking system to be established in the United States. 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 155 

. . . It is useless, therefore, to attempt a remedy now for 
the defects of our banking and currency system. We shall be 
compelled to blunder along- with the system as it is, and to 
accept the consequences of such financial collapses as it will, 
at intervals, necessarily produce. Sometime we may become 
wise enough to have a great central bank, with branches all 
over the country, like the Bank of France, whose strength 
was so great that even the Commune of Paris, in the ascendant 
in 1871, dared not touch it." 


Greenbackism waned in strength after 1880, for then a new 
fiat doctrine was spreading — free coinage of silver at ratio of 
16 to 1 — which largely supplanted the idea of fiat paper. The 
same arguments, in the main, were used against the silver 
heresy as earlier against the paper delusion ; with the important 
diflference that silver coins possessed bullion value whereas 
paper currency had no intrinsic value whatever. Free coinage 
of silver could not be redeemable in gold money nor could un- 
limited issue of paper currency. Both would make inflation, 
and debasement of silver would make depreciation of paper 
worse, because then the remote expectation of redemption in 
gold would be gone. Silver coins would fall to their bullion 
value of between 76 and 46 cents (1891-1901) ; paper currency 
would fall to whatever level credit confidence would give it 
(in 1864, 39 cents gold). Following the popular project of 
paying the national debt in greenbacks, came the scheme to 
pay it in debased silver dollars. Mr. Scott fought these later 
phases of fiat money as he did the earlier. When frequently 
asked late in life how he placed himself right on subtle ques- 
tions of finance, even in their hazy beginnings, and kept con- 
sistent course through years of polemics, he was wont to 
answer : "By study of history I learned fundamental prin- 
ciples. By adhering to the principles of universal human ex- 
perience, I pursued the right and logical course ; I could not 
go wrong." 

For versatility and force, the Oregon editor's treatment of 
free silver is one of the most notable feats in journalism. It 

156 Leslie M. Scott 

was the longest and hardest work of his career. He began 
in 1877, when silver advocates were first growing aggressive and 
when few conservative persons were aware of the danger of 
silver inflation. He ransacked his library for argument and 
example. He used his full literary skill to present the subject 
from all possible angles. Dealing with what he called "funda- 
mental principles" he would tolerate no mere "opinion" from 
adversaries. He considered such opinion unread, untaught and 
ignorant. It was not a question, he said, on which men could 
differ or compromise, as on tarifif. He gave large space in 
his columns to silver advocates, but made replies which ex- 
cited them to charges of arbitrary and dogmatic intolerance. 

Mr. Scott answered that ignorance was not entitled to opin- 
ion on principles as absolute as those of mathematics or money. 
"Somebody," he wrote (December 10, 1907), "asks if there 
can't be 'an honest difference of opinion about the gold stand- 
ard.' There can be no honest difference of opinion where one 
of the parties knows nothing of what he is talking about. 
There may be honest ignorance. But it is entitled to no opin- 
ion." And on April 26, 1904 : "The silver craze was the great- 
est menace the country ever knew. It has completely passed 
away. It was no ordinary question, on which difference of 
opinion was to be expected, but the standard was a matter of 
economics as certain as the truths of mathematics or of astron- 
omy. Hence the notion, that some hold to this day, that there 
ever could have been any difference of opinion or question 
whatever, among men of honest intelligence, whether the gold 
standard should be maintained or the silver standard substi- 
tuted for it, through free coinage of silver, is impossible. It 
was not a matter of opinion at all, and no more open to debate 
than the multiplication table." 

In the midst of debate preceding the election of 1896, the 
strong words of the editor denouncing the silver fallacy were 
termed by an opponent "abusive." To which Mr. Scott re- 
plied (August 8, 1896) : "It is not so; but when a man sets 
himself up to fight the book of arithmetic and to insist that 
something can be made out of nothing, it is necessary to answer 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 157 

him plainly." But toward open-minded ignorance, Mr. Scott 
was always kind. Challenged in 1896 as "abusive," he re- 
torted that plain statement of ''fundamental principles" ought 
not to be termed abusive and he then proceeded to state the 
"principles" : 

"The Oregonian does not use abuse as a weapon against 
anybody. Persons have the habit of using the words 'abuse' 
and 'abusive' too freely. Plain statement of unpalatable facts, 
clear presentation of fundamental laws which contradict pop- 
ular prejudice or excite popular passion, are resented as "^abus- 
ive.' The Oregonian pleads guilty to a certain dogmatism in 
discussing the silver question. There is no other method than 
the dogmatic in dealing with fixed and unchangeable principles. 
. . . . That the purchasing power of money is exactly 
equal to the commercial value of the material of which it is 
made; that when two kinds of money of different value are 
given free coinage and unlimited circulation, the cheaper being 
preferred in payment of debts, drives the dearer out of use — 
these are laws as absolute and inexpugnable as those of gravity 
and chemical affinity As well indict the fairness and temper 
of the teacher of mathematics who declines to discuss patiently 
the proposition that with support of a government fiat, two 
and two might make five. . . The Oregonian has no orig- 
inal knowledge on these subjects. Its wisdom is all second- 
hand. It has no information not accessible to every student. 
It knows that the fundamental principles of monetary science 
are absolute, because human experience for 2500 years so 
teaches. . . . They are the property of the human race. 
Only ignorance, presumptuous folly or selfish interest ignore 
or defy them." 

Popular resistance to "inexorable laws" of money and value 
he declared futile, no matter what election majorities might be 
and disasters that would come to a people from such resistance 
are inevitable (August 27, 1893) : 

"In every country and in every age there have been attempts 
to introduce cheap substitutes for money and the results have 
always been the same — failure and disaster. Yet there is an 
instinctive popular feeling, and often a popular revolt, against 
the inexorable law of values, and multitudes, instead of con- 
forming to it and working in accord with it, try in vain to get 

158 Leslie M. Scott 

away from what they regard as its tyrannies. A people may 
thus bring- disaster on themselves and ruin to their fortunes, 
but the law remains. . . . The co-ordination of knowledge 
gathered from the experience of many centuries is by no 
means an easy thing. Dependence therefore, on great thinkers 
and writers becomes necessary for the masses." 

Mr. Scott lived to see the silver fallacy completely aban- 
doned and his resistance to it lauded from one end of the 
nation to the other. His success may be better appreciated when 
it is noted that his own party — Republican — in several state 
platforms, in Oregon, sustained the silver propaganda and 
other times "straddled" it. Oregon had been represented in 
Congress by men who supported free silver, but in 1896 they 
and numerous other politicians, who long had fought Mr. 
Scott's money "principles," were converted to the gold 

It need not be said that each advance of the silver propaganda 
was opposed by the Oregon Editor at big personal sacrifice. 
Circulation and earnings of the newspaper which he edited 
were greatly depleted. Silver adherents were numerous and 
aggressive and probably a big majority of the population of 
the State in the early contest. He attacked the Bland Silver 
Act of 1878 and the Sherman Silver Act of 1890; pointed out 
that the government was unable to circulate the silver currency 
provided in those acts because business would not retain it; 
showed that each act was depleting the gold redemption re- 
serve ; predicted disaster, collapse, and silver basis of values. 
These writings, covering a period of twenty years, are a marvel 
of literary force and reasoning power. From the first appear- 
ance of the silver delusion in 1877 he predicted the financial 
crisis that culminated in 1885 and 1893. On November 7, 
1877, when silver advocates were pressing the issue that re- 
sulted in the Bland law, he said: "A debased and unstable 
silver currency will take the place of gold as fast as silver 
can be coined. All the talk about a double standard is merest 
moonshine. Gold and silver, everyone should know, will not 
circulate together when the former is so much more valuable. 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 159 

We shall load ourselves with silver coin and the benefit will 
fall to other nations, to which our gold will be exported as 
fast as it comes from the mints or the mines." Yet so elastic 
was the resource of the country that the collapse was deferred 
much longer than he thought possible. The force that saved 
the Nation was Preside'nt Cleveland, who drove repeal of 
the silver purchase law in 1893, and maintained the gold re- 
demption fund of the government. These acts, said Mr. Scott, 
earned Cleveland the lasting gratitude of the country. On the 
death of Cleveland in 1908, he wrote (June 25) : 

"A man who performed services to his country at a critical 
time scarcely excelled by more than two or three of our Presi- 
dents, was Grover Cleveland. He was the man for a crisis 
and he had at once the intelligence, the purpose and the firm- 
ness to do his work. . . . No man of clearer vision, in a 
peculiar crisis, or more resolute to meet the demands of an 
occasion, has ever appeared in our affairs. His second election 
was one of the fortunate incidents of the history of the United 
States. ... In all our history the act of no statesman has 
been more completely vindicated by results, and by the recog- 
nition of his countrymen, than that of Grover Cleveland in rid- 
ding the country of the financial fallacies that attended the 
silver fiat-money propaganda." 

In contrast with Cleveland's firmness, said the Editor, was 
the vacillating pohcy of McKinley, who during years in Con- 
gress paltered with the silver question, failed to see it a divid- 
ing and uncompromising issue and, with reluctance, allied him- 
self finally with the gold standard in 1896. ''The President's 
course," said the Editor December 10, 1899, "has been one of 
indecision and hesitation. It has been the course of a politician 
fearful of the effect on his own political fortunes of any open 
and strong utterance or decided policy." And again, Septem- 
ber 26, 1908: "McKinley tried sorely the patience of many, 
who understood perfectly that gold and silver had long since 
and forever parted company on the old ratio." 

"International bimetallism" — free silver coinage by agree- 
ment of the great nations — Mr. Scott declared as impossible 
as the scheme for the United States alone, because laws of value 

160 Leslie M. Scott 

would enforce themselves just as inevitably against internation- 
al fiat ; moreover, the great nations of Europe did not 'need free 
coinage of silver and did not wish it. While international 
conferences were held in 1867, 1878, 1881 and 1892, he kept 
hammering away at his "principles" and scored the conferences 
as illusions and delusions a'nd "bait for gudgeons." On July 
15, 1890, he wrote : "The United States might as well invite the 
nations of Europe to join in giving practical effect to the 
dreams of Edward Bellamy, as to ask them to join in an agree- 
ment for free coinage of silver." 

When one considers that the gold standard idea made slow 
progress and that the Republican Party sought to evade it as an 
issue as late as 1899, the perseverance of Mr. Scott appears the 
more laudable. Affirmation of the gold standard in 1896 was 
followed by immediate recovery of confidence and credit and by 
unparalleled prosperity. Immense stores of gold were released. 
Mr. Scott occasionally referred to the vindication of sound 
money doctrine in his subsequent writings. On November 3, 
1907, he said: "All the prophecies of the silver propaganda 
were at once refuted by recovery of business and credit. But 
the propagandists of silver ever since have been trying to cover 
up their confusion by the declaration that the recovery has been 
due to the increased production of gold. It is as shallow an 
assertion as any other pretense of the silver craze. There was 
gold enough, had it not been driven to foreign countries and 
into hiding places at home by continual injection of over-valued 
silver into the circulation of the country. . . . Foreign 
countries, free from fiat money demagogues, had money 

Again, on April 8, 1908: "Of this illusion it may be said 
that not the wildest dreams of the alchemist or of those adven- 
turers who sailed in quest of the Eldorado, were more extraor- 
dinary instances of the human power of self-deception. This 
prodigious fallacy had its origin in the equivocal use of a word." 

Gravest crisis in the industrial history of America, in Mr. 
Scott's view, was presented by the silver issue in 1896. Both 






Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 161 

before and after the event he held that opinion. Early in 1896 
he went to Mexico, so as to learn conditions in that silver- 
standard country, for information of his Oregon readers. Writ- 
ing from Mexico City, February 20, 1896, to the Oregonian, 
he said : "Here in Mexico is the place to observe the workings 
of cheap money, of money based on the market value of silver. 
Such money gives but a pittance to labor and debases human- 
ity." Similar debasement of United States silver coins, he de- 
clared, would shake the nation terribly. On November 6, 
1894, he wrote editorially : "The plunge to a debased standard 
of money would produce disorders in finance, industry and 
general business, more frightful than this country has yet 
known, or the world has ever seen, except perhaps the French 
Revolution of a century ago." On August 9, 1896, he de- 
scribed the danger thus forcefully: "Never was any question 
contested between parties, of so mighty import to the people of 
the United States. It involves a tremendous responsibility, not 
merely for the present, but for all future time; for, if we go 
wrong on this subject, we shall have done an act that will pro- 
duce conditions under which the whole character of the people 
will be changed. Here, indeed, is the test of success or failure 
of popular government. If we take the silver standard, it will 
gradually produce conditions under which the masses of the 
people will sink to lower levels, because labor, paid in inferior 
money, will not get its accustomed rewards. Continuance of 
these conditions will within a few generations effect a trans- 
formation of the national character and a national reduction in 
our scale of civilization." In the evening of his life the Editor 
was wont to laud the "unselfish patriotism" of "gold standard" 
Democrats who quit Bryan and voted for McKinley in 1896, 
in numbers sufficient to turn the election — the popular vote 
being: McKinley 7,164,000, Bryan 6,562,000. On January 
23, 1908, he referred to them thus appreciatively: "In every 
community to this day the names of these men are remembered. 
They saved the country from a financial and industrial disaster 
greater than it has ever known." 

162 Leslie M. Scott 


Mr. Scott was called to the editorship of the Oregonian just 
after the assassination of Lincoln. His article, "The Great 
Atrocity," was published April 17, 1865. Here was a tragedy 
in the greatest of all political contests in America. Broadly 
stated, the issue of the contest was between nationalism and 
state sovereignty, between ideas of Hamilton and Jefferson, 
between negro slavery and freedom, between North and South. 
During the whole period of his career, Mr. Scott was called 
upon to discuss this issue in its many collateral aspects, as the 
persistent one separating the two great parties. Almost his 
last article, April 14, 1910, related to the tragedy of Lincoln. 
His long-matured opinion he thus expressed: 

"On this night, April 14, forty-five years ago, Abraham 
Lincoln was shot by an assassin. A crime as foolish as horrible. 
It changed (not for the better) the whole course of American 
political life, from that day to this, and it may be doubted 
whether we shall ever escape from the consequences of that 
horribly mad and criminal act. 

"The irrational division of political parties today is a con- 
sequence of this crime ; and no one can see far enough into the 
future to imagine when the course of our history, set awry by 
this act of an assassin, will resume rational or normal line of 

The young Editor was confronted, after the Civil War, with 
large questions of Reconstruction. Opposed to slavery and 
disunion, he had to meet a hostile and bitter element. As a 
son of the Frontier West, he was born a nationalist and the 
nationalist idea grew with his manhood. Always in his edi- 
torial life that idea spurred him on. But there were many 
Democrats in Oregon before the War and more of them after- 
ward. On the secession and slavery issues they lost to the 
Republicans, but in 1865-7 they won the State back. Issues of 
Reconstruction made acrimonious politics. A leading figure in 
the national policy was George H. Williams, Senator from Ore- 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 163 

gon, who originated many measures, including the Fourteenth 
Amendment. Senator WilHams found Mr. Scott his ablest 
supporter. Friendship between the two, then begun, continued 
as long as they lived, and on the death of the Senator, the Editor 
wrote a beautiful tribute and farewell. It was his last large 
work, for soon afterward sickness stopped his further writing. 
Articles of Mr. Scott's, during the Reconstruction period, 
display moderate and lenient spirit toward the South, yet un- 
yielding demand for extinction of state sovereignty and slavery 
and for the establishment of national sovereignty and negro 
freedom. Sovereignty, he insisted, then lay in the victorious 
North, yet not for vindictive nor despotic purpose. He never 
reconciled himself to negro suffrage and in his later life, when 
partisanship disappeared, he felt free to say that the Fourteenth 
and Fifteenth Amendments "made a mess of it" (Oregonian, 
December 25, 1905), and that "it is not to be denied that the 
evils of indiscriminate negro suffrage in our Southern States 
are too great to be permitted." (Oregonian, August 8, 1907.) 


The Editor's paternal forebears were loyalists of South Caro- 
lina ; then pioneers of Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois. In 
Kentucky, the birthplace of his father was near those of Jeffer- 
son Davis and Abraham Lincoln. Currents of westward expan- 
sion merged from South and North in the Ohio Valley, thence 
diverged northward, westward and southward. Mr. Scott's 
people abhorred state rights and slavery ; in other matters thi y 
felt sympathy with the South. After these two issues were 
eradicated, Mr. Scott felt that sympathy recurring. The negro 
question in the South he knew a natural one in the white popu- 
lation and not to be argued away. In his later life he often 
said that disfranchisement or submission of the negro was in- 
evitable. He foresaw that northern sentiment would not 
strongly resist disfranchisement ; commented often on its grow- 
ing acceptance in the North and on the baseless fear in the 
South that the North would uphold the negro. 

164 Leslie M. Scott 

"The negro in every state wfiere the race is very numerous," 
he wrote on January 7, 1909, "has been almost wholly disfran- 
chised ; and the disfranchisement is based on conditions and 
regulations not likely to be shaken for a long time, if ever. 
Negro domination, therefore, is no longer a bugbear or terror. 
. . . The experience of forty years has shown the greater 
North that the South must be left to manage this great matter 
for itself." Seven years earlier, when Republicans appointed 
a partisan committee to inquire into disfranchisement of South- 
ern negroes, he condemned the plan as "useless and silly." "On 
this subject," he added, "there has been a mighty lot of experi- 
ence during the past thirty-five years, and it is useless to chal- 
lenge repetition of it" (March 23, 1902). 

Not less useless and silly he deemed the negro question in 
the South. He called Southern fear of the negro and of North- 
ern prejudice, "a strange nightmare" (November 11, 1904), 
and an antiquated prejudice. "Why should not the Southern 
people think of other things than the everlasting negro?" (No- 
vember 11, 1904.) He pointed out repeatedly that the "night- 
mare" or "prejudice" was harmful to Southern progress; that 
it allied the South with repugnant notions of the Democratic 
Party of the North, such as free silver coinage, opposition to 
territorial expansion in 1898-1900, and socialistic hostility to 
private business and property. He could perceive in his last 
years the slow drift of the conservative South away from the 
radical Democratic Party of the North. But the change was so 
slow he would risk no prophesy as to proximity of the outcome. 
"The negro question," he wrote February 4, 1909, "was the 
source of the Civil War ; it has been the main division of parties 
since ; yet now that the Southern States are finding out they are 
no longer to be interfered with, in this most important of all 
matters that concern them, their natural conservatism on other 
matters asserts itself and takes a new course." 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 165 


Between the two chief poHtical parties, the main Hne of de- 
marcation continued to be the national idea, Mr. Scott fre- 
quently wrote, when others complained, as in 1904-8, that they 
could see party distinctions no longer. "The influence of na- 
tionalism is the mainspring of party action," he said February 
2, 1908, "and must continue to be such. In this national aspect 
of parties and politics lies the reason why The Oregonian, 
throughout its whole life, has acted in politics with a view to 
efficiency in national government. The best exponent of this 
principle has been the Republican Party." "During fifty years 
(November 15, 1909) the Republican Party, depending on au- 
thority and insisting on the use of it^ has done everything. It 
has been strong, because it is the party of national ideas. In 
many things the Democratic Party has been a helper, doubtless ; 
but a helper chiefly by its opposition. . . . Most conspicu- 
ous display of this fact was when it elected Grover Cleveland 
to the Presidency in 1892. Cleveland was an asserter of high 
central authority; and, discovering this, his party exclaimed 
that it had been 'betrayed' and it repudiated him. Ever since 
it has followed the Bryan standard." 

Party was to Mr. Scott a means to an end, not the end itself. 
He was too broad-minded to think virtue in a mere party name 
or to follow party as a fetish. The Republican Party was for 
him the exponent — the only one — of concentrated and central- 
ized power, in resistance to local authority and disintegration, 
and in transformation from a federal to a national republic. 
"During fifty years (May 30, 1904) the Democratic Party has 
stood for nothing that the country has desired or could deem 
useful to it. If anything of constructive policy has come out 
of the Democratic Party these forty years, one would like to 
be told what it is. This party of opposition has not been use- 
less. Its use has been to force the Republican Party at inter- 
vals to justify its aims and claims." 

While the Editor had the statesman's lofty view, he was yet 
an indifferent politician. He cared little about the "offices" nor 
would the controlling bosses have permitted him to participate 

166 Leslie M. Scott 

in the spoils which his efforts so often put in their hands. His 
influence with them in party organization was always little or 
nothing. But his power with the voters, on an issue such as 
free silver, was to be reckoned with. Often when unable to 
sway politicians on matters of party policy his appeal to the 
public brought result. He never permitted petty questions of 
an hour or a day or a locality to blind him to the main issue ever 
confronting the country. Right up to the last of his life he 
continued to reassert the issue. "On trifling events men fre- 
quently scatter in considerable numbers from the parties they 
commonly act with; but any event or proposition of real im- 
portance will bring them back" (November 15, 1909). 

The long struggle for national unity was symbolic, the Editor 
used to say, of all democratic progress. A democracy, in find- 
ing its way, gropes in darkness of passion and ignorance, but 
finally by its ow'n force, is sure to take the best way, yet most 
of the time because it exhausts all possible ways of going 
wrong. So with the unifying process in the Nation. "It takes 
a long time to teach a democracy anything — that is, any import- 
ant principle. Tendency of democracy is to sub-divide. It is 
driven together only by large industrial and national forces, 
which it resists as long as it can. It took a great while to bring 
a scattered American democracy, planted in separate colonies, 
together in national unity; and the process required a bloody 
civil war — perhaps the bloodiest in all history. It took a long 
time and stre'nuous effort and a financial catastrophe, among 
the worst the world ever has known, to cure the American 
democracy of the fallacy of trying to maintain a fictitious money 
standard. ... It will solve the tariff question rightly after 
a while — that is, after it has tried every possible experiment of 
going wrong." 

The reader should not infer that there was hostile spirit in 
Mr. Scott toward democracy ; it was critical and philosophical, 
merely. No person could have been more intensely democratic 
in mind or habit. The professions of aristocracy, in politics or 
elsewhere, were to him abomination. Only in democracy did 
the sentiment of justice have full sway. "The spark of justice 

Review or Writings of H. W. Scott 167 

and the fires of human freedom are kept aHve in the hearts of 
the common people, 'the plain people,' as Abraham Lincoln 
called them" (April 2, 1884). And "the most potent of all 
forces is democracy in its fighting mood" (December 20, 
1905). Popular self-government was worth all its effort, how- 
ever strenuous. It was the only security for freedom. Mr. 
Scott regarded as an urgent national need the great isthmian 
canal. Its unifying influence, he foresaw, would stimulate 
growth of the national spirit. He began writing on "The Dar- 
ien Canal" in 1867. His discussions of the Panama and the 
Nicaragua and other routes were frequent. He believed that 
this waterway would consolidate the country and eradicate 
local narrowness even further than railroads have done. It 
would uplift America's world influence and upbuild America's 
sea power. The opportunity grasped by President Roosevelt 
for making this waterway American he commended as a grand 
stroke of statesmanship. 


When the young Editor entered the post-bellum controversy, 
the leading Democratic organ in Portland was the Herald, 
whose editor in 1866 was Beriah Brown.^^ 'pj^js veteran of jour- 
nalism undertook to discipline the "boy editor." But the "boy" 
proved himself more than a match for the "veteran." Their 
disputes brought out a subject on which Mr. Scott wrote with 
growing power — the Jeffersonian origin of secession. Editor 
Brown, after the style of good Democrats, exalted the mem- 
ory of Jefferson. Editor Scott dug up history to show Jeffer- 
son the architect of state sovereignty and rebellion ; hostile to 
constitution and nationality ; assertive of "Federal League" ; 
author of Kentucky resolutions ; sympathizer with the Whisky 
Insurrection and Shay's Rebellion; distrustful of courts and 
judiciary; covertly hostile to Washington. All this the young 
Editor suported with such array of reading as to spread wide 
his reputation. One of his terse and direct remarks (Novem- 
ber 1, 1869) was the following: "It is now an accepted national 
and historical fact that the doctrines promulgated by Jefferson 

13 Beriah Brown came to Portland from San Francisco. He spent his later 
life at Puget Sound. 

168 Leslie M. Scott 

for partisan purposes, in opposition to the administration of 
Washington and the Elder Adams, were the fundamental cause 
of the Great Rebellion. In none has the maxim that the evil that 
men do lives after them been more fully illustrated than in the 
case of Thomas Jefferso'n." And near the end of his life the 
Editor outlined the same view as follows (February 23, 1909) : 
"Jefferson was the man who, after the formation of the Con- 
stitution and the making of the nation under it, for partisan 
purposes, set up the claim that there was in fact no nation, no 
national government, but only a league of states, that might be 
abandoned or broken up by any of the members at will. This 
was the Great Rebellion. This was the Civil War. He was 
the evil genius of our national and political life." 

Progress of the Hamilton idea, after its triumph in civil war^ 
was often a theme of Mr. Scott's comments on current events. 
"The course of history during twenty years past (December 
18, 1880) has vindicated Hamilton, demonstrated his marvel- 
ous prescience and discovered to the country the immense ex- 
tent of its obligations to him. To Hamilton the country is 
chiefly indebted — to him it is indebted more than to all others — 
for the creation of a national government with sufficient power 
to maintain the national authority. He it was who, foreseeing 
the conflict between pretensions of state supremacy and the 
necessary powers of national authority, succeeded, in spite of 
tremendous opposition, in putting into the Constitution the 
vital forces which have sustained it. Appomattox was his vic- 
tory. . . . The glory of Hamilton is the greatness of 
America." And on February 12, 1908, the same thought moved 
him to say : "The idea is growing that the Government of the 
United States is no longer a Government of limited powers but 
may cover all local conditions. This is a vindication of the 
principles of Hamilton against those of Jefferson." The fame 
of the Virginian, said Mr. Scott, will rest, in future history, on 
his acquisition of Louisiana and Oregon ; this greatest of his 
works will fix him in history as the nation's chief expansionist. 
Acquisition of Louisiana was "the most important of all the 
facts of our history because it created the conditions necessary 






Review of Writings of H, W. Scott 169 

to our national expansion and consolidation." And after 
Louisiana came the United States claims to Oregon. "Philos- 
ophy of History" was a favorite pastime of Mr. Scott and he 
applied it in his later life to the main currents of United States 
history — Northern and Southern. On July 11, 1902, when in- 
troducing Henry Watterson^^ at Gladstone, near Orego'n City, 
he reviewed these two strains of national life in an address 
which awakened Mr. Watterson's admiration. 


The "new expansion across the Pacific following the Spanish 
War was, in Mr. Scott's opinion, a logical pursuit of national 
ends. It opened a new destiny for the American republic. It 
meant great national power at sea, and expansion of ocean 
commerce, leading to American dominion of the Pacific ; "the 
nation's wider horizon is seaward" (July 12, 1898). It fol- 
lowed a law of constant expansion of territory — a law of na- 
tional progress which had united the country and ever extend- 
ed its frontier. It would prove anew the assimilating power of 
the American State ; would broaden the country's spirit and its 
outlook on the world, because intercourse with other nations 
gives the most powerful stimulus to progress and no nation 
liveth unto itself alone. It would banish from home politics 
fallacies which would be generated otherwise out of American 
isolation ; among such had been fiat money and absurdities of 
socialism. It would promote the growing leadership of Amer- 
ica among the great powers. The Democratic Party was then 
fighting the changed policy, calling it "imperialism" and "mili- 
tarism" and "government without consent of governed" — issues, 
of Bryan from 1898 to 1904. Mr. Scott scored the opposition 
as an aflfront to American intellige'nce. These issues were false 
and unworthy of a political party which for generations had 
negatived them in domination of negroes h. the South. Fili- 
pinos would not be "e'nslaved," as the Democratic Party assert- 
ed would be their fate under American rule, but would be 
accorded larger measure of political and personal freedom than 
they ever had before or could have under any other govern- 

13 Henry Wattcrson, editor Louisville Courier- Journal. 

170 Leslie M. Scott 

ment. Even before the war with Spain, the Editor frequently 
told his readers that expansion was the rule of national life. 
"Neither races nor individuals change their 'nature and the laws 
of history cannot have fallen in sudden impotence in the nine- 
teenth century (April 22, 1893). . . . We shall go on ex- 
tending our limits, so long as the vital impulse of our nation- 
ality is not exhausted. When we lose the impulse to expand, 
it will be time for some other people to take the primacy of the 
Western Hemisphere out of our failing hands." On October 
8, 1898, when the war with Spain had delivered the Philippines 
to the United States, he wrote: "Men and ideas 'now leap 
oceans easier than they then (Washington's time) crossed 
rivers ; and the notion that American ideas cannot pass beyond 
this continent is a strange short-sightedness, reserved fortunate- 
ly, as we believe, to a small proportion of our people." The 
new destiny inspired him to appeal to the sentiment and fancy of 
his readers. When the National Editorial Association assem- 
bled in Portland in 1899, he welcomed the members in an 
address which outlined his conception of the new expansion as 
follows (July 6) : 

"The East has been treading on the heels of the West, yet 
never has overtaken it. Latterly, the West has taken ship on 
the Pacific, and, through one of the movements of history, has 
overtaken the East. America has put a new girdle around the 
earth ; a^d the West has moved on, till it has reached the gate- 
way of the morning, over by the Orient where the men of the 
United States are planting the banners of a free civilization. 
. . . We are now making distant excursions, led thereto by 
a march of events, whose direction we could not foresee. But 
wherever we go we shall carry our great national idea, push it 
to realizatioh and accomplish the great work of organizing into 
institutions the inalienable rights of man. . , . Realization 
that our country faces the Pacific as well as the Atlantic starts a 
new era of our national history, and, indeed, a new epoch in 
the history of the world." 

A decade after acquisition of the trans-Pacific islands the 
Editor was as ardent an expansionist as his forebears had been 
in spreading to Kentucky, Illinois and Oregon. On January 1, 
1908, at the time of the round-the-world voyage of the Ameri- 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 171 

can fleet, he said : "Every modern philosophical writer de- 
clares that the first grand discovery of modern times is the 
immense extension of the universe in space. The idea shows 
man where he is and what he is. And the second great discov- 
ery is the immense and perhaps limitless extension of the uni- 
verse in time. . . . It is with political geography that we 
are now immediately concerned. The Pacific Ocean is becom- 
ing more and more the theater of new interest for mankind. 
Here, on the American shore of this greatest of ocea'ns, we face 
new movements and nev/ destinies . . . Commercial move- 
ment and industrial forces depend always in great degree on 
political influences. With due regard for the rights of others, 
we want our just share — which is to be a large share — of the 
sovereignty of the Pacific." 


An ever-recurring question, vexing the country during most 
of Mr. Scott's period, even yet unsolved, was tariff. Nor could 
Mr. Scott see solution of the complicated matter in the near 
future. It may be fit here to outline his views on this subject, 
for he was consistently opposed to the long protective policy of 
the Republican Party, and the present protective policy of the 
Democratic Party. "Free trade" or "tariff for revenue only" 
belonged to his stock of "first principles" ; "protectioh" was 
not a principle, at all ; only a temporary policy and a deluded 
one. Never would the tariff be settled for any length of time 
until ''protection" should be eliminated. The system is main- 
tained, he said, because many localities, including Oregon, seek 
special advantages for themselves, a^nd combine their forces to 
impose import tax for benefit of their own products — Oregon's 
being chiefly wool. All localities together are hostile to each 
neighbor's part of the spoil so that no protective tariff law can 
long exist. Such tariff, he used to say, will wreck the fortunes 
of any political party. As proofs we see the wreck of the 
Democratic Party after the Wilson bill of 1893 and recently 
the wreck of the Republican Party after the Payne-Aldrich act 
of 1909. He averred it is impossible to unite men long oh any 

172 Leslie M. Scott 

protective tariff scheme because high moral enthusiasm, senti- 
mental idea, are lacking. "The difficulty of uniting many men 
in permanent alliance for a common object/' he asserted Sep- 
tember 27, 1909, "increases as that object appeals less and less 
to any disinterested affection or high inspiration, and rapidly 
proves itself insuperable when it sinks into a mere scramble of 
greediness and vanity." A week earlier (September 20) he re- 
marked: "It involves no contest of lofty opinions about jus- 
tice or righteousness, the rights of democracy or the mainte- 
nance of the dignity or authority of the nation. It is trade and 
dicker, barter and swap." 

The policy, declared Mr. Scott, takes wrongfully from one 
man to bestow upon another; thus confers special privilege. 
All cannot enjoy the benefits ; a few do, and for those few the 
many, who have no products to "protect/' are taxed. The ra- 
tional tariff duty would be imposed on articles of universal con- 
sumption — food, drink and clothing — such as tea, coffee, to- 
bacco, wine, spices, sugar and luxuries in high class textile, 
leather and metal goods and special luxuries of the rich. "The 
general principle of 'tariff for revenue only,' " he wrote, Sep- 
tember 2, 1892, "is that we should admit free of duty, such com- 
modities, except luxuries, as we produce in our own country 
and lay duties on such commodities of foreign production as we 
largely consume yet cannot, or do not, produce ourselves." 
Such settlement would put an end to the continuous brawl in 
Congress and throughout the country over the protection of one 
set of interests at the expense of others or at the expense of 
consumers. Anything short of it would leave the subject open 
to perpetual contention and strife; for protection was not an 
equal policy ; never could be. Its most direct consequence were 
creation of monopolies and enrichment of a few at expense of 
the many. "Protection" conferred on manufactured goods yet 
denied to raw products, he said, was discrimination to which 
Western and agricultural communities would not submit. "Pro- 
tection" had for its primary defense higher resultant wages for 
labor; but labor enters into production of raw materials just as 
into their manufacture. 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 173 

It may be remembered that the Editor never was at peace 
with the Republican Party on tariff. Yet he could not quit the 
party on this issue, first because there was no other party whose 
policies he could accept and second, because more serious mat- 
ters than tariff confronted the country a'nd in those matters 
only the Republican Party afforded him lodgment. Chief of 
them was the money question. 

The Editor never regarded protective tariff as an enduring 
policy of the national Republican Party. He considered it a 
more natural one for the Democratic party, with its local habits. 
He believed, therefore, that the parties eve'ntually would shift 
on this question, the Republican to champion tariff for revenue, 
the Democratic to advocate tariff for protection. "Tariff for 
revenue only," he said August 8, 1909, "will become the demand 
of the North sooner than of the South. But there will be no 
result, these many years." Again: "As a party of national 
authority, the Republican Party will A'nd the ideas of the local 
protectionists less and less suited to the policies for which it 
stands and must stand." 

In the early '80's a common argument used for protective du- 
ties was that tariff would help maintain a "favorable balance 
of trade." This was too flimsy to withstand the editorial broad- 
sides of Mr. Scott's writings. Thirty years later a fresh idea 
sprang up in defense of "protection" — an adjustment of rates 
"based ob difference in cost of production at home and abroad," 
so as to afford "protection" only to industries that really "need- 
ed" it. This was the last phase of tariff that Mr. Scott lived to 
attack. On April 6, 1910, he said : "It is impossible to ascer- 
tain the differences between the cost of production here and 
abroad. Variations of opinion on this subject will be irrecon- 
cilable and endless. . . . The differences will shift and 
vary continually. None of these differences is or ever will be, 
a fixed quantity or a steady quantity for any length of time. 
. . . New factors are continually entering into all processes 
of manufacture ; and cost of materials varies from year to year. 
Cost of production, being extremely unstable abroad, how can 
it ever become a basis on which protective tariff laws can be 

174 Leslie M. Scott 

framed for our country?" Begirining- in 1880 "reciprocity" 
was a frequent subject of discussion and legislation. By this 
policy, the United States was to admit certain goods of certain 
other nations, if such nations would admit certain goods of the 
United States. The scheme never attained much success, owing 
largely to American unwillingness to lift tariff on favored ar- 
ticles. Mr. Scott said that reciprocity was incompatible with 
protection. "You never suspect that reciprocity is sincere, 
when you look at its advocates. They never reciprocate except 
for their own gain at somebody else's loss." (January 19, 


At two periods, Mr. Scott's firm stand for law and order and 
his unsparing denunciation of disturbers of peace evoked bitter 
resentment and even mob excitement — in 1880-86, when Chi- 
nese suffered violent attacks, and in 1894, when "Coxey 
Armies" were "mustering" and "marching" on Washington 
City. In each case the Editor's English denounced the exciters 
and the doers of violence, in his most vigorous style. Threats 
were often heard against his life and he deemed it prudent to 
guard his newspaper office against any possible assault. Labor 
agitators were foremost in these crises and they were greatly 
exercised by the Editor's criticism of their doctrines of labor; 
for Mr. Scott, through his long experience as a laborer, had 
learned lessons of industry which enabled him to put up effec- 
tual arguments agai'nst their claims and theories and to drive 
home his arguments by his own example. 

Mr. Scott always held the Chinese ah undesirable infusion 
into American population, yet useful for menial labor. He op- 
posed forceful ejectment of them from the United States, but 
supported the plan of exclusion, which in 1882 was enacted 
into law. Under treaty of 1868 with China, immigrants from 
that country were guaranteed free ingress into the United 
States. This treaty held until 1880, when a new one gave this 
country the privilege of regulating this immigration. An exclu- 
sion act of Congress in 1879 was vetoed by President Hayes, 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 175 

because violating the treaty of 1868. Finally in 1882 exclusio'n 
was effected by an act which has been continued up to the 
present time. 

There is little doubt that refusal of the United States to 
admit hordes of Chinese laborers has been best for the internal 
peace of the nation, although the Pacific Coast region has suf- 
fered thereby for lack of efficient laborers. Mr. Scott clearly 
foresaw both the social need of exclusion a'nd the industrial 
need of Chinese labor on the Pacific Coast. The former need 
he regarded as the determining one. The immediate theme of 
his writings during the critical time of anti-Chinese agitation 
was the treaty rights of Chinese in this country to protection 
against mob viole'nce. He condemned in unsparing terms the 
cruel attacks made upon them by agitators and mobs, whose 
cry was "The Chinese must go!" He pointed out that attacks 
upon the persons of the alien residents would involve the United 
States in international complications with China and bring dis- 
credit upon this country among foreign nations. He declared 
that industrious Americans had nothing to fear from the labor 
competition of Chinese. The crusade against Chinese was gen- 
eral in the Pacific Coast in 1880-90, and in several places the 
aHens suffered sorely, as in San Francisco and Tacoma. Port- 
land had less disturbance than other cities of the Coast — in 
which Mr. Scott both bespoke and guided the temper of his city. 

During more than thirty years and from his first to his last 
utterances on the Chinese question, Mr. Scott insisted that the 
problem was not one of labor, but of race. It was neither true 
nor important that Chinese were doing work that white men 
otherwise would do, or takitig "jobs" away from American 
citizens. The real objection to them was that they were not 
an assimilable element; could not fuse with the white popula- 
tion ; in other words, race antipathy existed which was not to 
be overcome by argument and which would cause discord and 
continual upset in the political and social body. In 1869, the 
Editor pointed out that labor wages here — the'n about fifty per 
cent higher than east of the Mississippi — would be reduced not 
by Chinese at that time few in number, but by influx of workers 
from our own denser populated part of the country. 

176 Leslie M. Scott 

White immigration was thereafter agumented in California 
by the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads, that year 
completed, and in Oregon by large expenditure of money for 
railroads by Ben Holladay. In that same year politicians in 
Oregon, as well as in California, were making campaign 
against "Chinese cheap labor," among them Grover,i* then 
running first time for Governor. Against their assertion that 
Chinese "add nothing to the wealth of the country," Mr. Scott 
showed that the aliens had cleared large land areas for crops 
and were building railroads for use of the white population. 
Their number on the Pacific Coast — less than forty thousand, 
and few in Oregon — was, as yet, no menace to the white race 
and was contributing large capital, by its labor, to the uses of 
the country. "Every Chinaman leaves the products of his labor, 
a full equivalent for the wages paid him. He leaves more ; he 
leaves the profit which his employer has made in the cheap 
labor he has furnished" (July 7, 1869). Often Mr. Scott told 
the white people that the Pacific Coast was slow in industrial 
progress because there were not enough workers ; that Chinese 
were not snatching places from white men because they were 
doing work white men would not do ; that the surfeit of white 
laborers in San Francisco, the center of agitation, did not exist 
elsewhere and that most of the work to be performed was out- 
side the cities ; that the aliens had done much to make Oregon 
and Washington habitable for white men, especially in clearing 
land — a work too hard and cheap for white laborers ; that they 
had been employed in this and other activities also because of 
scarcity and indolence of the whites. 

But the Editor was prompt also to say that while Chinese 
were useful for labor, they could not be received in large num- 
bers into American citizenship ; that the two races were antag- 
onistic, ethnically, politically, industrially. He asserted that 
however much Chinese industry would stimulate growth of the 
country, it was better to have peace. "They are not an assimil- 
able element and they come in contact with our people in a way 
which cannot in the large run be favorable either to morals or 
prosperity. . . . Under this view we have believed it well 

i4LaFayctte Grovcr, Governor of Oregon 1870-77; U. S. Senator it7r-»3; bom 
at Bethel, Maine, Nov. 24, 1823; died at Portland May 10, 1911. 



Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 177 

to pass a bill to restrict Chinese immigration" (March 21, 
1879). On enactment of the exclusion law in 1882, he said 
(April 29) : "The Pacific States have made a great fight and 
have won a great victory." 

In 1905 Chinese in the Orient boycotted American goods 
because of the exclusion law and many exporters in the United 
States urged suspension of the exclusion law. The Chamber of 
Commerce of Portland recommended admissio'n of a limited 
number of Chinese annually. This plan Mr. Scott opposed with 
citations from experience of twenty-five years before. Other 
matters were to be taken into account, he said, than exports 
and need of laborers. "We can never expect (August 18, 
1905) that our laboring classes will assume any position except 
of unconquerable antagonism toward the Chinese. The history 
of every community on the Pacific Coast for the past thirty 
years proves it." 

(July 5, 1905) : "No conflict is so cruel as that between an- 
tagonistic races. . . . No doubt Chinese laborers in this 
country would quicken industries now dormant for want of 
hands to stir them. But how about politics? How about the 
race conflict? Do you want it? The Oregonian has a mem- 
ory and it does not." 

(July 22, 1905) : "The commotion would be so great that it 
may be doubted whether, on the whole, the progress of the 
country would not be checked, rather than accelerated, even in 
a'n industrial way." 

(July 6, 1905) : "The Chinese could do a lot of work here, 
of course — and work a lot of trouble. We want industrial de- 
velopment, but we want peace and must not have race war." 

Inasmuch as Mr. Scott's opposition to Chinese expulsion has 
led some persoVis to suppose that he also resisted Chinese exclu- 
sion, it has seemed to the present writer appropriate to set 
forth Mr. Scott's attitude on this subject in some detail. The 
Editor understood the problem as many others did not — its 
native antipathies, its basic race hatreds. Therefore, he was 
equipped to deal with the subject according to "first princi- 
ples" and moral precepts. His course was humane, rational 

178 Leslie M. Scott 

and consistent and vindicated by subsequent events. It was a 
very difficult question to handle in the then heated condition of 
the public mind, especially in 1886 when expulsion was de- 
manded. All are now ready to deprecate assaults upon Chinese 
but denunciation of such acts twenty-five years ago excited 
bitterest animosities, with attacks of malignity and folly. The 
spirit of riot and outrage, of incendiarism, robbery and mid- 
night assault assailed the Chinese during a decade. 


The other period of turbulence was that of "Coxey Armies" 
in March and April, 1894. "Hard times" and the worst stag- 
nation in business the country ever knew, followed the collapse 
of 1893. Loud clamor went up from the unemployed for work. 
The noise was heightened by a large element of the thriftless, 
who having saved nothing from "good times," turned agitators 
and even vagabonds and called upon government for the means 
of livelihood. They organized "armies" which set out for 
Washington, D. C, to lay their "grievances" before Congress 
and to demand "aid." The movement was started by Jacob S. 
Coxey, of Massillon, Ohio, and was encouraged by the Populist 
political party and by many followers of fiat money. Chief of 
the Coxey demands were free silver coinage and immediate 
issue of $500,000,000 greenbacks, unsecured, wherewith to em- 
ploy the "army" on road building — which, if done, would have 
plunged the nation into the lowest depths of currency degrada- 
tion and industrial chaos. The commonweal parties started 
from many directions and but few reached the National Capital. 
Coxey himself was arrested there for breaking the rule, '^Keep 
off the grass." The travelers had no means to pay for food, 
clothing or passage and the mania made them hostile to work ; 
therefore they first imposed themselves on charity and then re- 
sorted to thievery and even to capture of railroad trains. Gov- 
ernor Pennoyer of Oregon afforded them sympathy, thereby 
increasing the local tension. Oregon became a hotbed of Coxey 
propaganda, and United States officers were called upon to pro- 
tect railroad traffic from interference. 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 179 

If the reader has followed the outli'ne of Mr. Scott's personal 
character and editorial style, as hitherto given, he can foresee, 
before reaching these lines, the war which the Editor waged 
upon the Coxey movement. He told the "armies" that their 
resources were not in government but in their own labors ; that 
they would have to take what employment they could get and at 
whatever wages a'nd that the government did not owe them 
better nor any at all; that in Oregon and Washington was 
place for every efficient man on farm, in garden and orchard 
and dairy, in mine and forest, on terms that would enable him 
both to live and to convert the tattered prodigal and aimless 
vagrant into useful, prosperous and honored citizens ; that it 
was the business of every person to strive to make place for 
himself instead of to complain, "No man hath hired us" ; that 
the Coxey leaders were professional agitators and the followers 
deadbeats and prodigals. The "armies" were similar to the "I. 
W. W." groups of the present day, which have been defying 
law, order and industry, and laying their grievances to capital- 
ism. Mr. Scott viewed the "Coxeyites" as belonging to the 
ultra-radical forces of socialism. His disbelief in "community 
help" for the individual and his faith in personal industry and 
prudence fired his utterances with a fervor which angered the 
"Oregon army." A mob of Coxeyites in May, 1894, surround- 
ed The Orego'nian building for several hours calling for ven- 
geance. In answer to their plaint, "We are starving in the 
midst of plenty. Why?" Mr. Scott had answered (April 21, 
1894) : 

"It is easy to tell why. For years there had been plenty of 
work and high wages. But these men did not make the most 
of their opportunities. Some of them did not use their oppor- 
tunities at all. Those who did work worked but fitfully or 
irregularly and did not save their money. They 'blew it in.' 
They refused the maxims and the practice of prudence, sobriety 
and economy. They were careless, pleasure-seeking, improvi- 
dent. And though they were getting the best wages ever paid, 
they were dissatisfied and wanted more. Through their unions 
they forced their demands for wages to a point beyond the 
power of employers to pay. Their political demagogues told 

180 Leslie M. Scott 

them they ought to get still more, that they were cheated out 
of all the benefits of 'protection,' which were i"ntended for them, 
but had been swallowed up by the bosses. So the 'change' was 
voted. This produced increased caution and timidity on the 
part of employers, who feared to continue their business on the 
old scale, and, in fact, were unable to do so. Then, when em- 
ployment could bo longer be had, great numbers of these men, 
who had saved nothing, found themselves destitute and forth- 
with began to accuse and denounce society and government for 
conditions resulting from their own imprudence. . . .It 
is not h. the power of the national authorities to find remedies 
for the evils which men bring on themselves through want of 
forethought and steady industry, through dissipation of time, 
opportunity and money, through the common modern habit of 
pushing the demand for wages beyond what employers can 
possibly afford to pay and compellitig establishments to close or 
greatly reduce their force. . . . They who spend their 
money in one way or another as fast as they make it, who never 
postpone present gratification to the expectation and purpose of 
future advantage, who live in and for the passing day, with 
little thought of the morrow, and noUe at all of next year, or of 
the necessary provision for later life; who have been accus- 
tomed to work, when they worked at all, only at such employ- 
ments and such hours and wages as they could select or dictate ; 
whose lives in many instances have been as profligate as that of 
the prodigal son, but who have not yet reached the better resolve 
of repentance and amendment — all such are stranded, of course. 
These are fit recruits for the armies of vagrancy now pointed 
toward Washington by the demagogue folly which has long 
been proclaiming it to be the duty and within the power of 
Congress to help men by legislation who can be helped only by 

As this quotation describes Mr. Scott's ideas of individual 
thrift, it has been included here at some le'ngth. While there 
might be an occasional exception to the general rule that a man's 
success or failure in life is what he himself makes it, Mr. Scott 
averred that the exceptions could not disprove the rule. With 
men as a class and with individuals who failed to build a foun- 
dation of personal prosperity, he had little or no sympathy. He 
did feel, however, and most deeply, for children i'n destitution. 
Their helplessness was always a source of sadness to him. 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 181 

In June, 1894, a railroad strike halted Mr. Scott's return 
from an Eastern trip, at Tacoma, and he had to quit the North- 
ern Pacific Railroad there, and make his way as best he could 
to Portland. This amused a number of Populist editors and 
they directed jibes at Mr. Scott, which he answered with the 
following in The Oregoniah of July 24: 

''Several Populist papers are chuckling and cackling over 
the fact that some two weeks ago the Editor of The Oregonian, 
then at Puget Sound on business, was stopped at Tacoma by 
the strike and had to make his way as he could across the 
country to the Columbia River. Of course the poor milksops 
do not know how little such an incident disturbs a man who all 
his life has been accustomed to obstacles, and yet never to allow 
them to stand in his way. The Editor of The Orego'nian in 
pioneer times was accustomed to foot it between Puget Sound 
and the Columbia and carry his grub and blankets on his back, 
and to think nothing of it. He and all others at that day went 
through without complaint conditions a thousa'nd-fold more 
laborious and difficult than those against which our Populists 
and anarchists and 'cultus' people generally now protest as intol- 
erable hardship and grinding slavery. Trifling as this particu- 
lar incident is, it illustrates right well the difference betweeh 
purposeful energy and poor, pitiful inefficiency. The one does 
things, the other whines and complains, says it can't, and wants 
somebody to help, or government to give it a lift." 

In December of the same year, when "soup kitchens" were 
abundant, Mr. Scott had said in his paper: 'Tt is their duty 
to put their wits and energies at work, to make employment for 
themselves, not to stand all the day idle offering the excuse 
that no man has hired us." A critical editor replied that he 
would like to see what Mr. Scott would do, "out of money and 
out of work and without friends." To which Mr. Scott an- 
swered in The Oregonian, December 23, 1894 : 

"He was in exactly that position ?n Portland over 40 years 
ago. But he didn't stand round and whine, nor look for re- 
sources in political agitation or bogus money nor join Coxey's 
army. He struck out for the country, dug a farmer's potatoes, 
milked the cows and built fences for his food and slept in a 
shed ; got a job of rail-splitting abd took his pay in an order for 

182 Leslie M. Scott 

a pair of cowhide boots; in these boots he trudged afoot to 
Pug-et Sound; "rustled" there for three years and raked to- 
gether $70, with which he came back to Oregon afoot, to go 
to school, and managed by close economy to live six months, 
till, his last dollar having vanished, he bought an ax of Tom 
Charman, of Oregon City, on credit, made himself a camp on 
the hill above Oregon City and cut cordwood till he got a Httle 
money to pay debts he owed for books a'nd clothes. The next 
years were spent very much the same way — hard work and hard 
study, but nothing for beer and tobacco, and no time fooled 
away listening to political demagogues. All this is very com- 
monplace, but it is recited to show that when the editor of this 
newspaper talks about hard times, self-help and what men can 
do, he knows what he is talking about." 


None knew better than Mr. Scott the irresistible drift toward 
substitution of collective function for personal duty. He 
stemmed the drift as o'nly his strong personality could do, yet 
not nearly so often as his conscience urged. He insisted that 
citizens should supply, as far as society could compel them, 
their own facilities and luxuries for selves and children, with- 
out leaning on government. Otherwise character would be 
impaired and the many would be burdened o'n the thrifty few, 
with the former quota fast growing. Always he was urging his 
readers to employ energies of the self-reliant aforetime and 
apply themselves to creative labor, instead of to seek the created 
wealth of others. Pioneer conditions, he used to say, were a 
thousand times harder than the later conditions that were 
called "oppressive" and "grinding" by many a poor man. The 
contrast betwee'n the pioneer era of self-help and the new era of 
leaning on society he portrayed in the subjoined article, March 
1, 1884: 

"Our fathers, who settled and subdued the continent from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific, pursued the rational and successful 
way. Each family pushed out for itself, without theories to 
hamper it. All worked with intelligence and industry, but no 
one leaned upon another. The theories of modern social sci- 
ence, so-called, fortunately for them and for the country, were 
unknown. Its jargon had not yet been evolved to mystify the 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 183 

mind, to darken counsel, to suggest falsely that men might look 
for resources where no resources are to be found. Our fathers 
knew that the secret lay in independent energy, in intelligent 
labor, in the rules of thrift, economy and virtue. They knew 
that the thing for each family to do was to make a selection 
of land and establish upon it an independent home. There 
were no writings of Herbert Spencer or Henry George to per- 
plex them with vain notions of co-operative association or other 
transcendental nonsense. Enough for each of them to mind 
his own business, without bothering with co-operation, colony 
or commonwealth. On those principles of commo'n sense our 
own state was settled." 


It is convenient to discuss the general attitude of Mr. Scott 
on the large questions involved in ''individual responsibility" 
under two main heads — moral and economic. Under the for- 
mer are classed his articles on reform, liquor prohibition, temp- 
tation and the like ; under the latter his varied discussion nowa- 
days presented by "socialization" projects. No subjects re- 
ceived more frequent treatment at his pen than these and none 
other were challenged more hotly by champions of opposing 
ideas. They cover the whole period of his activity. They were 
widely read and applauded; also widely misunderstood and 

Starting with the idea that each individual should be held 
accountable for his own evil conduct and should suffer its con- 
sequences, Mr. Scott declared this method the only one fit to 
fortify the resistant forces of personal character. Only moral 
strength would withstand temptation and such strength is ac- 
quired from resistance. Temptation, therefore, was not to be 
taken away. "It is poor and impotent method of reforming 
the world," he remarked September 30, 1887, "to try to put 
away means of evil from men, instead of teaching men to put 
evil away from themselves. Temptation exists in forms innum- 
erable and will ever exist, so long as man is man; and our 
Maker himself appears to have seen no other way to develop a 
moral nature in man but by setting temptation before him and 

184 Leslie M. Scott 

bidding him, as he valued Hfe, to triumph over it. . . . The 
text is, 'DeHver us from evil.' It is a mistaken method of moral 
work when the text is reversed and mem think, by putting 
temptation out of the way, or by trying to remove from sight 
things that may be perverted, to make moral character." Again 
on December 28, 1909 : "If any philosopher — or if the philos- 
opher is to be ruled out — if any charlatan or quack can discover 
a way by which temptation can be resisted or character can be 
formed except in the presence of temptation, he will be a world's 
wonder. The problem was beyond Omniscience and Omnipo- 

Drunkards are to blame for their excess, not the person sell- 
ing the liquor ; nor the law which fails to suppress it ; drinkers 
create the saloon by their demand for it. The one way to dimin- 
ish the liquor traffic is to diminish the demand. Intemperance 
is in the man, not in the whisky. It is not the fallen woman 
who is responsible for the social evil, but the men who seek 
her. It is not the "keeper of the game" who is responsible 
for the evils of gambling but the persons whose demand cre- 
ates the game and supports it. It is not the "loan shark" who 
is responsible for usury but the persons who seek to pay exces- 
sive interest. Those who stray from the strict moral code of 
sex are not to blame other influences than their own weakness. 
Parents whose children go wrong are to hold responsible noth- 
ing else than their own neglect or failure of training. Morally 
weak persons who fail to hold themselves erect should pay the 
penalty, either in punishment or elimination. ''This poor fellow 
can't resist the seductions of drink (October 7, 1887) ; that 
poor fellow can't resist the seductions of the painted woman; 
the other poor fellow can't resist the seductions of the gaming 
table. And all of these poor fellows are a cheap lot, none of 
them worth saving and the world would be better without 
them." All this was a grim rule of conduct, yet it accorded, he 
said, with the world's experience. It did not mean that society 
was to fail to protect its weak members against the aggressions 
of the strong. "But it cannot protect the weak against them- 
selves without trenching on the rights of free action (May 24, 

J'acsimile of writing of Harvey W. Scott. From manuscript of an address 
delivered by Mr. Scott at Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, N. Y., Sept. 25, 
1901 (Oregon Day). "The Oregon Country, when my father removed his family 
to it, forty-nine years ago, embraced the covintry from the summit of the Rocky 
Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, between the 42d and 49th parallels of latitude. 
It included the whole of three" states of the present day and large parts of two 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 185 

1904), through which the strong grow stronger and find a 
freedom that makes Hfe worth Hving. ... It remains as 
heretofore and will be the law of the life of man to the last 
ages, that those who cannot stand the strain and pressure of 
moral requirements will perish." 

Legislation, he averred, has little effect on morals or charac- 
ter. Rum, brandy, whisky, for example, always will exist. 
They belong to the domain of human knowledge. To try to 
suppress the knowledge is absurd. "All that can be done ra- 
tidnally is to teach, or try to teach, the error of misuse of them 
(May 2, 1909). Restraint of sale is well. Still, however, 
there must be left some quantity of choice in the use of them — 
even in the abuse of them. This is absolute. It gives the rea- 
son why prohibition never caii be enforced." Indians of Ore- 
gon, before whites came to the country, knew nothing of alco- 
holic liquors. "But had they the virtue of 'temperance?' Not 
at all. Though they never got drunk, temperance was a virtue 
they did not know. . . . Those who think that by prohibit- 
ing liquor they can make men temperate are as absurd as those 
who suppose that they can make men honest by never trusting 
them with anything they can steal. Moral strength is created 
only by allowing liberty of choice between right and wrong; 
by marking the difiference between right use of a thing and 
actual abuse of it. All other miseries in the world are insignifi- 
cant as compared with those that attend abuse of the sexual 
function. But does the genuine reformer endeavor to abolish 
the sexual relation ? Rather does he not insist that one of the 
chief duties of life is to refrain from abuse of it?" (September 
2, 1889.) 

Often the critics of Mr. Scott urged that since the law for- 
bids theft and murder, makes their acts crimes and punishes 
them with severity, the law can also forbid liquor selling, make 
it a crime, and enforce penalties for its violation. Mr. Scott 
replied that murder and theft are crimes per se and so regarded 
the world over ; but liquor selling is sanctioned by public opinion 
because men recognize a proper and sober use of liquors. Re- 
form of vice, in the Editor's view, rests with those who have 

186 Leslie M. Scott 

the training of youth ; with those who can exert personal aiid 
social influence to put vice under the ban. Virtue must have 
its growth from within; cannot be enforced from without. 
Training, if not in the home, is impossible. Mr. Scott depre- 
cated the modern habit of shifting this duty to the state, "All 
the duties of society (December 11, 1907), all the duties of the 
State as the authoritative expression of the means and meas- 
ures necessary for the regulation of society are of little import- 
ance in proportion to the duties of parenthood ; for everything 
depends on the watchfulness of parents and on their right care 
and direction of the children for whom they are responsible." 
He always resented ecclesiastical control or discipline of pri- 
vate conduct, resisted the pratings of "pharasaic and charlatan 
proprietors of civic virtue" and of revivalist reformers, drew 
distinctions between innocent pleasures (as on Sunday) a"nd 
theocratic condemnation of such pleasures as vices ; decried the 
efforts of Pinchbeck or Puritan moralists, rebuffed ''shrieky 
preachers" who sought to force their sensational ideas on him 
or on the public. His was a middle course between the ex- 
tremes of vice and the extremes of reform, a course which he 
deemed practicable a'nd therefore sensible. 


Most important of all parental teaching for the youth is that 
of work and concentration, wrote the Editor often. Industry is 
first among the influences of right living. Constant labor, ap- 
plied to intelligent purpose, ope'ns the way to good practices 
and closes the paths of evil; also it trains to self-denial and 
self-control. "This self-denial of which so many are impatient 
(April 7, 1899) is no new doctrine; it contains a universal 
principle that can never be suspended; the exercise of it is, 
always has been, always must be, a fundamental condition of 
success in human life." 

Mr. Scott was ever driving home the lesson that there is no 
considerable success without great labor and they who decline 
the labor have no right to expect the results that come only 
through labor. Young people are not to shun even drudgery, 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 187 

for it is the price of success and worth the price. "Vokmtary 
hard labor has always had a hard name among those not wilHng 
to undergo it (April 7, 1899). 'Improbus' it was called far 
back — an expression not translatable as applied to labor, in 
accord with the ideas of the modern world. It is common 
enough to say that success is not worth such extreme effort; 
which would be true enough, if only material objects were con- 
sidered, but the full exercise of every man's powers is due to 
himself and due to the world, subordinate always to the rule 
of right. The one thing that needs iteration is that no success 
can rightfully be effected without payment of the price for it 
in labor and conduct." Moreover, "the young man who is to 
get on in the world (September 6, 1904) 'needs to work the 
most days and the most hours he can — not the fewest. There 
never will be reversal nor suspension of this rule. The few 
who observe it will get on, will get ahead. The many who 
neglect it will be servants while they live." Men's duty seldom 
permits them to choose their occupations. If every man could 
have the work he delights in doing, much work would go un- 
done. Labor is the only means to happiness ; efforts to escape 
it end miserably ; physical comfort does not always lead to vir- 
tue ; there is no reward for idlers ; economy is a very great 
revenue ; government can do little to "help" its people or pro- 
vide them work; no man need suffer poverty in the bountiful 
opportunities Oregon affords ; self-help is the only means of 
escape from the wages system — such were frequent themes in 
Mr. Scott's editorial discussions. 

No rules for getting on in the world are worth much, beyond 
the rules that inculcate the homely and steady virtues. "All else 
will be controlled largely by circumstance (January 28, 1910). 
A man of fair abilities, good judgment and powers of unceas- 
ing application, may become moderately successful in any line 
of effort to which he turns his attention. But sobriety, pru- 
dence, industry and judgment must attend him every day of his 
life." A year earlier, January 7, 1909 : "Attention to business, 
whether it be sweeping out and making fires in a little store or 
shop or helping to load coal on a freight engine, will land one 

188 Leslie M. Scott 

at the top — but the three simple words at the beginning of the 
sentence cover a multitude of things that the average boy 
slights as not worth bothering himself about." As for college 
education: ''Everything is in the man; little in the school 
(July 5, 1909). If it is in the mah it will work its way out- 
school or no school. Talent is irrepressible. It will find its way. 
If it hasn't energy to find its way, it will accomplish little from 
all the boosting it may receive." Thus the Editor summarized 
his slight faith in "easy" education. Again : "Boys and girls ! 
You've got to work, and your school will help mighty little. 
The less help you have the stronger you'll be — if there's any- 
thing in you. If there's nothing ib you, the game isn't worth 
the candle. But you must try." 

Mr. Scott's own rule of life, his own self-examination and 
fortitude of character are indicated in this analysis of what true 
worth is, as distinguished from wealth or station or intellectual 
capacity (April 7, 1899) : 

"A man's greatness lies not in wealth or station, as the vul- 
gar believe, nor yet in intellectual capacity, which often is asso- 
ciated with the meanest character, the most abject servility to 
those in high places and arrogance to the poor and lowly ; but a 
man's true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest pur- 
pose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and every- 
thing else, dn frequent self-examination — for Socrates has not 
been superseded on this topic nor ever will be — and on a steady 
obedience to the rule that he knows to be right, without troub- 
ling himself very much about what others may think or say or 
whether they do or do not do that which he thinks and says and 
does. The prime principle in man's constitution is the social ; 
but independent character is the rational check upon its ten- 
dency to deception, error and success." 

Devotion to truth was a vital corollary to his moral theorem 
of industry. "The straight path," he often said, "is the old and 
only way." On March 25, 1905 : "The only security one has, 
or can have, when he eViters the world of activity and of strife 
and struggles with it, is in keeping faith with his ideals. Star- 
vation, with virtue, after all, is not likely to happen. But 
shame, failure, vexation, disappointment, remorse and death 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 189 

are the proper consequences of life, without ideals of virtue and 
duty. There are resources in decency and virtue and right Hv- 
itig, that are sure. To these resources, loose, vicious and idle 
lives never can pretend. If the straight way is not the primrose 
path, it certainly is the only safe one." 


The motives spurring the Editor against the oncoming hosts 
of paternalism already have been outlined in this article. He 
thought the rising power of collectivism and commubism, un- 
less checked by later forces, ultimately would submerge the 
energetic, the thrifty members of society. Immediately it was 
bringing vastly extended functions of government, multiplied 
office-holders and "free" enjoyments for the masses that pay 
little or no part of the expense in taxes and that control taxa- 
tion through non-propertied suffrage. Socialism, he defined as 
the negation of all private property, since equality is the essence 
of all its doctrines; as "the growing disposition to substitute 
communism for individualism, an increasing desire to use the 
State as a vehicle for support of the thriftless, by levying upon 
the accumulation of the thrifty ; an increasing antagonism to the 
man who through patience, energy and self-denial, accumulates, 
and an increasing encouragement to the incompetent to rely 
upon society as a whole for sustenance and even entertainment" 
(April 15, 1901). Again: "It implies that industry, prudence, 
temperance and thrift should divide their earnings with indo- 
lence, stupidity, imprudence, intemperance and consequent pov- 
erty" (March 10, 1892). Once more: "It means that the 
state, or the community in general, is to be the collective owner 
of all the instruments of production and transport — by instru- 
ments meaning all things requisite, including land, to produce 
and to circulate commodities. That is to say, the state is to own 
all things which economists call capital — all the land, all fac- 
tories, workshops, warehouses, machinery, plant, appliances, 
railways, rolling stock, ships, etc." (July 9, 1895). 

This definition excited hostile criticism of varied degree from 
socialists, who would flood the editorial table with copious let- 

190 ■ Leslie M. Scott 

ters defining socialism each for himself. "Every writer," re- 
plied Mr. Scott (April 15, 1901), "has his own definition. Some 
go no farther than general opposition to private ownership of 
land and productive plants. Some go so far as the platform of 
the Social Democratic Party in 1900, which demands public 
ownership not only of railroads, telegraphs, telephones, water 
works, gas and electric plants and public utilities generally, but 
also of all mines, oil and gas wells. Some advocate community 
ownership of all desirable things, including women." Mr. Scott 
admitted that the negation of the idea of private property is not 
the intent of socialism^ but averred that such would be the logi- 
cal and inevitable result, because no property could be used as a 
private source of income and because personal goods would 
soon wear out and could not be renewed, since the state would 
possess the means of production. Hence, there would be no 
way to acquire property beyond the barest means and needs of 
living and no person could have more or better things than 
his neighbor. "It is astonishing that this scheme to narrow 
human life to one type, and that the poorest, should have any 
support at all. It would be useless for anyone to make effort, 
for he would have nothing to gain for himself and nothing to 
leave to descendants" (November 22, 1904). Once when a so- 
cialist writer called civilization a "monstrous disease," Mr, 
Scott retorted (December 17, 1907) : "It may be supposed the 
writer never saw uncivilized conditions, such, for example, as 
those in which the tribes of Clatsop and Puget Sound lived, in 
the former day. That state of life seemed to be a real disease." 


We cannot epitomize the whole range of argument which Mr. 
Scott employed against socialism, nor does space permit. His 
articles on this ramified subject cover more than thirty years. 
He knew he could stop the then forward march of the idea not 
at all nor retard it even slightly. It would have to run its course, 
he said. In concrete practice, Mr. Scott resisted the idea in its 
continuous enlargement of governmental function. He declared 
that public ownership of complicated utilities, such as lighting 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 191 

plants, street car lines, would prove more costly than in private 
hands under government regulation; that extension of higher 
education to make it "free" and "easy" injured the recipients of 
its so-called be'nefits, absolved parents from their due obliga- 
tions and youth from helpful striving ; that "free" libraries, hos- 
pitals and many other "free" luxuries fostered official extrava- 
gance bred officials and taxed the most energetic citizens for 
benefit of those of lesser merit ; that worst of all it taught the 
habit of "lying down on the government" and "making the 
state pay." "Government cannot compel the energetic few to 
do very much for the improvident many" (June 7, 1909). "If 
pushed very far, the result will be continual and rapid diminu- 
tion of the energetic few and increase of the improvident many." 
Again on June 20, 1904: "The dream of 'social justice' never 
will do anything for him who depends on it. He should quit 
that dream, take the first job he can get and stick to it till he 
can make it the stepping stone to another and better. Then 
he will find no theory of 'social justice' of any interest to him." 
An earlier article, November 18, 1889, remarked : "No man 
has ever yet risen to prosperity by croaking and grumbling and 
spending his time in trying to discover reasons for the supposi- 
tion that society is organized to keep him down." As for spread 
of governmental function (February 1, 1901) : "Nobody can 
look out for himself any more. He is no longer able to cut his 
beard without superintendence by the state or to buy butter 
for his table or to protect his fruit from winged or creeping 
pests or his flocks from wild beasts. No* one now thinks of 
doing anything for his own education ; and the citizen puts up 
an incessant demand for enlargement of the functions of the 
state in all conceivable ways, so he may 'get a job,' in which 
the duty is but nominal and the salary secure." The great 
source of trouble was too much ignorant and irresponsible vot- 
ing of taxes and governmental extravagance by citizens who 
did not feel the burdens thereby imposed on property. For this 
reason — and this reason chiefly — Mr. Scott stood opposed to 
woman suffrage — which would double, or more than double, 
he said, this sort of voters. Government and property, he as- 
serted, were too much harassed by such voters already. 

192 Leslie M. Scott 


Land socialism — "single tax" — Mr. Scott treated in ways 
similar to other doctrines of communism, as a scheme of its ad- 
vocates to prey upon propertied neighbors through authority of 
government. His writings on this subject extended over 
twenty-four years. They contain the full argument against 
the theories of Henry George and his later followers. A char- 
acteristic excerpt of his criticism is the following (July 20, 

"Our Henry George aspostles or disciples, the single-taxers, 
who call themselves the landless poor, will not rush off into any 
of the new districts, where land is offered practically free and 
settle down and work in solitude and contentment, as others 
did aforetime to establish themselves and their families. No, 
indeed ! They wish to seize the fruits of the labor and privation 
and waiting and life-long effort and industry of others — by 
throwing all taxes on land values and making the land ob- 
tained by the pioneers, through their early efforts and life-long 
constancy — valueless to them. Here, in the new aspect are 
the modern Huns and Vandals. * * * These people don't 
wish to work, are unwilling to work, as others have done 
aforetime. They think it easier and therefore preferable to 
prey on society and rob others — covering their operations with 
assertions of justice and forms of law." 


Evils of excessive wealth, glaring as they were and intol- 
erable, were not to be remedied, said Mr. Scott, by the social- 
istic regime. He considered the propaganda formidable chiefly 
as "part of the attack on vast evils that must be cured or 
abated" (November 12, 1906). Not forever would the people 
allow themselves to be plundered by trust combinations. "Such 
transactions in themselves and in their results, are all immoral. 
They are on a level with the transactions of the slave trade; 
and their fortunes have the same basis (April 7, 1905)." It 
was a lazy complacency which assumed that the masses of the 




Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 193 

people should submit to these exactions and yield to the "stream 
of tendency." Colossal combinations organized for such busi- 
ness are inconsistent with principles of social and individual 
freedom. "Our people will not believe that the long upward 
struggle of the civilized world for centuries, tending ever to 
greater freedom of the individual, larger sense of personal 
dignity and independence, is to be arrested now or to end now 
in the economic overlordship of a few and the contented ac- 
ceptance by all the rest, of such favors in the form of char- 
ities or educational endowments as these few may see fit to 
bestow." July 18, 1903.) And the system of perpetuating 
vast fortunes by inheritance made the evils worse. These 
estates should be broken up, he said, not be permitted to solidify 
into permanent institutions. The power of transmitting such 
estates was sure to be limited. And there should be abolition 
of protective tariff — greatest agency of special privilege ; also 
close regulation of avenues of transport and carriage. Social- 
ism or social democracy was unthinkable, as a remedy. It 
would be inconsistent with individual freedom and personal 
dignity ; an economic impossibility ; a despotism. "Great 
wealth" could be regulated under existing institutions and 
forms of law. The whole system of private property should 
not be destroyed in the effort to eradicate the parasite. 


In 1904 the initiative and referendum became operative in 
Oregon and in 1905 the direct primary. The method of direct 
legislation and direct nomination became known as the "Oregon 
system." In successive elections the "system" was actively 
employed. Mr. Scott was its boldest critic. He was widely 
urged to turn the system to his own use to elect himself United 
States Senator in 1906-08. These urgings were so numerous 
and came from such substantial sources that they convinced 
his friends he could make a successful contest for the office. 
But they could not move him to approve the system; it was 
destructive of party and of the representative and cohesive 
forces of government. He would not pose as a seeker of any 

194 Leslie M. Scott 

office, however high, against his convictions. He predicted 
that the system would break up the Republican party then 
dominant in registration by large majority and would elect 
Democrats to the chief offices. His predictions were amply 
verified, for Oregon has two Democratic Senators at the Na- 
tional Capitol and a Democratic Governor, whereas Republican 
registered voters have outnumbered Democratic in the state 
during eight years past by more than three to one. He asserted 
that the "Oregon system" was reversion to pure democracy 
and destructive of the centralizing and nationalizing institu- 
tions of representative government. 

Mr. Scott directed his heaviest batteries against "Statement 
One" — a pledge required of candidates for the Legislature, 
binding them to elect the "people's choice" for United States 
Senator, of the general election. The Editor scored this pledge 
as disruptive of party, as an instrument of petty factionalism, 
and false pretenses, as a "trap" to force Republican Legislators 
to elect Democratic Senators against their own political convic- 
tions and against heavy Republican majorities on national 
issues. By this "trap" Mr. Chamberlain was elected Senator 
in 1909 and Mr. Lane in 1913, both Democrats. "Statement 
One" is now eliminated by amendment to the national constitu- 
tion for electio'n of Senators by popular vote — which Mr. Scott 
often urged both as an escape from Oregon's troublesome 
method and from the evil methods in other states. "The 
election should be placed by the constitution directly in the 
hands of the people of each of the states, without intervention 
of the Legislature thereof (January 27, 1908). It is one of the 
absolute needs of our governme'nt." Statement One certainly 
proved itself a destructive instrument to Republican unity and 
a boon to Democrats. 

As for direct primaries, Mr. Scott conceded their benefits 
in eradicating the "boss" and the "machine" convention, but 
held up the evils — such as, loss of leadership of strongest me^, 
plurality rule of parties and their resultant disintegration; 
elimination of purposeful party effort; false registration of 
members of party; spites and revenges of factionalism; bold 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 195 

self-seeking of candidates for office. Mr. Scott's remedy was 
an adjustment between the old and the new systems — party 
cdnventions prior to primaries, the platform and candidates of 
the former to be submitted to the latter. This plan he was 
urging at the time of his death. It was rejected in the sub- 
sequent election by defeat of the convention candidates. It 
may be remarked in passing that even the original advocates 
of direct primaries in Oregon are not all favorable to continu- 
ance of the system. They admit the unsatisfactory results and 
now urge "preference voting," whereby primaries would be 
abolished and nominations and elections consolidated. 

Mr. Scott objected not so much to the referendum as to the 
initiative. Both, he pointed out, were designed for occasional 
or emergency use, but the initiative had opehed the way to 
innovators, faddists and agitators, whO' took the opportunity 
to inflict their notions upon legislation at every election. The 
initiative, open as in Oregon to such small percentage of 
electors, was leading to visionary extremes and — what was 
most serious — to unequal taxation. It was a menace to political 
peace and security which could not be long tolerated by con- 
servative elements of the people. It was supplanting repre- 
sentative government — the best known method of democratic 
cohesion and safest means of protection for property. It was 
superseding the old Oregon constitution — a wisely framed 
instrument. It was reverting to "pure democracy" which his- 
tory had proved inferior to republican form of government. 
"Representative government is the only barrier between an- 
archy and despotic monarchy. The whole people cannot take 
the time nor give themselves the trouble to examine every 
subject or every question. The Polish Diet or Parliament 
consisted of 70,000 Knights on horseback. There was no 
sufficient concentration of authority. The consequence, need- 
less to say, is that Poland as a nation, long ago ceased to exist. 
It was the same in Ireland. There was no concentration, no 
centralization of authority, under representative government. 
There was too much 'primary law.' Irela'nd, therefore, is 
not a nation, except in aspiration, forever unrealizable." An- 

196 Leslie M. Scott 

other excerpt, June 5, 1908 : "The popular initiative, so-called, 
is not a proceeding of representative government. On the 
contrary, its distinct purpose is to substitute direct government 
by democracy, for representative or republican government. 
One of its evils is that it affords no opportunity for discussion, 
amendment, or modification of its propositions before their 
final adoption." Party, in the Editor's view, was the most 
perfect method of carrying out the popular will. "No man, 
in a democracy, ever yet succeeded in any wide field of political 
endeavor except through the agency of party. , . . It is 
common with young persons to lay claim to non-partisan in- 
dependence. The notion seldom, perhaps never, holds them 
through life. Experience in the long run, dissipates the view 
a'nd judgment prescribes a more effective course of action." 
(June 29, 1907.) At this time it was a political fad of many 
to decry party and assert "independence." The large revolt 
from the Republican party was made even more disastrous by 
the scattering influence of direct primaries. The "Oregon 
system," the Editor thought, might have protracted duration, 
but he felt certain that experience with it would convince the 
public of need of modification so as to preserve the repre- 
sentative system of lawmaking and of party organization. 

"Though The Oregonian does not expect the initiative and 
referendum to be abandoned wholly, it does expect considerable 
modification of them in time, because such modification will 
become absolutely necessary to relieve the strain put on our 
system of government by this fantastical method." (July 21, 

Ought citizens, he asked, who would defend the orderly prog- 
ress of society, be thus compelled to stand guard tO' prevent 
ravishment of the constitution and the laws by groups of hobby- 
ists and utopists who have nothing to do but sharpen their 
knives against society and its rational peace? 

"Democracy nowhere yet has ever succeeded except through 
representative methods. In this way only cab it bring its best 
men forward. Democracy makes the greatest of its mistakes 
when it sets aside the representative principle. It deprives itself 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 197 

of its most potent method of action. It cuts off deliberation. 
It makes democracy merely a turbulent mob." (October 24, 
1909.) "Radical and revolutionary methods, reversing first prin- 
ciples of government and opposed to human experience through 
methods of innovation, are not methods of reform." (July 6, 
1909.) "The whole of this modern scheme of setting aside con- 
stitution and laws and of forcing legislation without debate or 
opportunity of amendment, tur'ns out badly because it gives the 
cranks of the country an opportunity which they have not self- 
restraint to forego." (Feb. 18, 1908.) "To say this is not 
to dispute nor to question the right of the people to self-gov- 
ernment. But all cannot study all questions. Modern hfe 
depends o'n adjustment of the results of experience, or science, 
in innumerable departments, to new and growing needs. Here 
now is the opportunity, here is the need of representative gov- 
ernment as never before. The people are to rule but they should 
delegate their power to those whom they deem the most com- 
petent to do the things wanted. Only thus can they get results. 
Representatives betray the people less than many suppose. 
There is danger of such betrayal, undoubtedly, for the repre- 
sentative may not be much wiser than his constituency nor 
always honest. But the people ought to be able to protect them- 
selves by exercise of care in the selection of their representa- 
tives." (May 16, 1909.) "In all this there is ^o distrust of 
the people. On the contrary, it is simple insistence that the 
people have the right to the best service that their deliberation 
and their suffrage can command." (Sept. 10, 1909.) 

Direct primaries, said the Editor, negatived the representa- 
tive method in party and election, just as the initiative and ref- 
erendum did in legislation. Though ^ot so fundamentally dan- 
gerous they made their evil seen in destruction of rational 
political effort and of deliberation; in spites and revenges of 
factionalism ; in elimination of men of character, independence, 
distinction, and ability ; in election of meh of ambitious medioc- 
rity, who never could obtain consideration under any system 
that was representative. "Under restraints of the party system, 
there never could have been such profligagcy in the Legisla- 

198 Leslie M. Scott 

ture, such excesses in the appropriation bills, such creation of 
additional and useless offices and increase of salaries as are 
witnessed now." (Feb. 20, 1909.) The new system repudiated 
leadership, threw leadership to the winds. "It suppresses every 
man who occupies a place of influence in parties — especially 
in the majority party. The object is to get rid of all men of 
energy and talents ; and it succeeds ; to cast out and trample 
down every man who has superior powers of persuasion and 
combination." (April 6, 1909.) "The attempt to make party 
nominations without some guide to representative party action 
always will be a blunder." (Sept. 14, 1909.) 

Mr. Scott fought the onward rush of the "system" with the 
old-time courage that had "nerved him against many another 
movement. But this was a struggle which he knew he would 
not live to see won. His life span was too short. But with 
the vision of a prophet he looked forward to a time when, after 
the strife's fury and passion had spent, the foundation principle 
of republican government would again prove itself triumphant. 


As aggressive editor and leader of public opinion, 
Mr. Scott found himself forced into many local political con- 
tests in the course of his long life. He entered these struggles 
hot at all with belligerent desires, but because he had to uphold 
principles and policies, many of them of national scope, against 
persons who were setting up local opposition. His attitude 
on home political issues was always conditioned by the nation- 
wide interest, when he thought that interest involved. This 
method of his was often misco'nstrued and falsely represented. 
On the issue of sound money, for example, he attacked friend 
and foe without quarter, unceasingly and everywhere, in local 
and general elections, who advocated ''fiat money." And 
it is probable that many of his enemies took up the silver idea 
in personal antagonism to Mr. Scott. 

Early railroad projects in Oregon engendered political feuds 
of very bitter intensity. First of these was the fight between 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 199 

the East Side and the West Side companies (Willamette 
Valley) in 1869-70. Mr. Scott took no part in the political 
fight, urged both projects as needed by the public, but recog- 
nizled the East Side company (Ben Holladay's^^) as equipped 
with funds to build, whereas, the West Side company (Joseph 
Gaston's) had little or no financial backing. In 1870 occurred 
the fight to determine whether the southern connections of 
Holladay's road should be via Rogue River or via Eastern 
and Southern Oregon from Eugene. On account of the large 
interests of Rogue River, which otherwise would have no rail- 
road connection, the line was routed that way through influ- 
ence of Senator George H. Williams. Mr. Scott supported the 
policy of Senator Williams. The Oregon Legislature, by 
joint resolution in September, 1870, demanded the Rogue 
River route.^^ 

A longer contest was that over the Northern Pacific land 
grant in Washington Territory, lasting a decade after 
1877. The Northern Pacific had located its route to Puget 
Sound and claimed, under act of Congress, its land grant 
thither, to be earned by construction of its line. Financial 
difficulties delayed construction ; meanwhile enemies of the road, 
supposed to be prompted by rival Union Pacific interests, were 
clamoring for completion of the Northern Pacific, otherwise, 
they demanded that its land grant be forfeited and a substitute 
grant be allowed for a rival route connecting the Columbia 
River with the Union Pacific at Salt Lake. This competing 
effort was headed by Senator Mitchell and W. W. Chapman.^^ 
But the Northern Pacific was too strong h. Congress to be 
dislodged. Mr. Scott contended that the Northern Pacific 
should be afforded every advantage to complete its road (at 
one time the company agreed to build the Columbia River 
route) ; that the people of Oregon should not quarrel over two 

15 Ben Holladay opened the first period of railroad construction in Oregon in 
1869. He was succeeded in 1876 by Henry Villard. Holladay came to Oregon in 
1868; died at Portland July 8, :887. "Holladay's Addition," in Portland, was 
named for him. 

16 Session laws for 1870, pp. 179-80. 

17 William Williams Chapman, born at Clarksburg, Va., Aug. 11, 1808; died 
at Portland Oct. 18, 1892. Came to Oregon 1847, to Portland 1849, in which year 
he became one of the proprietors of Portland townsite and one of its most ener- 
getic citizens. 

200 Leslie M. Scott 

railroads when they had neither, but should help the one offer- 
ing them the more practicable and the earlier connections ; that 
the Northern Pacific was that one ; that, moreover, its interests 
were those of the North, as Oregon's were ; that while Oregon 
needed the Union Pacific, too, it should not play the uncertainty 
of that route against the certainty offered by the Northern line. 
Subsequent events sustained this view; the Northern Pacific 
was opened to Portla"nd in 1883, and the rival Union Pacific the 
next year. 


Taxation of credits was an active issue in Oregon during 
the decade 1883-93. During most of the period the state was 
struggling with a law taxing mortgages. This law (enacted 
1882; repealed 1893) attempted to tax land mortgages at the 
same rate as the land, in their proportions of value. It had 
disastrous effect on credit, made high rates of interest, with- 
held capital from the state and imposed undue taxes o'n debt- 
free land owners. These evils were foretold by Mr. Scott 
before enactment of the law and he finally saw public senti- 
ment change to hostility toward such tax. Of similar sort was 
the popular fallacy after the Civil War, of demanding taxa- 
tion of government bonds, Mr. Scott combatted this idea 


It also fell to his lot, in the last five years of his life, to 
combat popular fallacies of "high prices." "Cost of living" 
greatly increased, following high tide of prosperity in 1900-05. 
Among the causes ascribed was large gold production. In 
Mr. Scott's view, the chief cause was enlargement or excess 
of credit ; with credit reformed, after the inflation period, prices 
would fall. A second influence making high prices, he said, 
was extravagance in government, following socialistic demands 
for wider governmental activities. A third was shortage of 
food-production, due to overplus of population outside such 
duties, chiefly in cities. "Let those who complain about high 

o o > 
III m ■* 

J I 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 201 

prices of the necessaries of life get into the country and raise 
wheat and pigs and potatoes. Then they, too, will want high 
prices for everything that grows out of the soil." (June 6, 
1909.) A fourth was general organization of means of dis- 
tribution yielding excessive profits. A fifth was the general 
extravagance of living, use of costly food and clothing and 
luxurious habits. "They say the times are changed, and we 
can get all these things and must have them. Very well, then ; 
but don't complain about the increased cost of living." (De- 
cember 20, 1909.) The Editor took such occasions to recall his 
readers to economical ways of life, telling them simplicity would 
reduce the high cost of living. "Population has outrun the 
proportional production of food. Food comes from the land 
and men and women don't like to work on the farm." (De- 
cember 2, 1909.) 


Mr. Scott wrote on the ethical and moral side of many activ- 
ities ; nor did he neglect that side of his profession. And in an 
exposition of his opinions, it may be in keeping to note his 
cardinal ideas on the work of an editor or Newspaper publisher. 
He called himself editor rather than journalist, for the latter 
name afiFected refinements that were alien to his char- 
acter. His conception of an editor or publisher was one who 
was free from all alliances, political and commercial, that might 
trammel his service to the public as purveyor of intelligence. 
With such alliances, the publisher or editor could not command 
the public confidence nor exercise the influence on public 
opinion that a newspaper must have to be a virile force in a 
community. Independence, he said, is required of a news- 
paper, by the public, probably more than any other business. 
In 1909, when Mr. Scott declined the Mexican ambassadorship, 
tendered by President Taft, he was asked his reasons by a 
newspaper reporter in an Eastern city. He replied : 

"I did not wish to tangle my newspaper with politics. . . . 
I am convinced that the ownership or editorship of a news- 

202 Leslie M. Scott 

paper is incompatible with political ambition. The people will 
not tolerate the idea of a man's pushing himself through his 
own paper, and they are right about that. The publisher who 
would produce a newspaper which has lasting character and in- 
fluence must have an absolutely free hand. His independence 
must be maintained. He must stay out of associations that take 
from his Newspaper interest. . . . The object and purpose 
of a newspaper is full and independent publicity and a person 
interested in other lines of business, in railroads, banks, manu- 
facturing or anything of an industrial character, would better 
stay out of the newspaper business. If a man is engaged in 
the industries I have named, and also owns a newspaper, he is 
constantly beset by his associates to keep out of print this or 
that article of news or to shade news so it will not be unfavor- 
able to the particular business in which friendly parties or 
associates are interested. They will ask that the matter which 
might be annoying or unfavorable, be suppressed or that it be 
presented in a way that will not carry the whole truth. , . . 
The long and short of it is that the newspaper publisher must 
not have friends who have such a hold on him that his inde- 
pendence is endangered." 

A newspaper that sells its support or favor to a candidate 
for ah issue for money, Mr. Scott declared, corruptly bargains 
away its independence, lowers the tone of journalism, and 
injures the public service. A successful newspaper must be 
independent of political party, yet use a political party, on 
occasion, for carrying an important issue. As an auxiliary to 
schemes of capitalists a newspaper becomes disreputable and 
hever succeeds. "Money may be at command in abundance, 
but invariably it is found that money can't make such a news- 
paper 'go' (April 22, 1905)." And on December 27, 1897: 
"The true newspaper, that earns its support in a legitimate 
way, whose business is conducted for its own sake alone, that 
never hires itself out to anybody for any purpose, accepts no 
subsidies, gratuities or bribes, but holds fast at all times to 
the principles and practices of ho'norable journalism, can alone 
command confidence." Once more, March 15, 1879: "A great 
journal is a universal news gatherer, a universal truth teller. 
It cannot afford to have any aims which are inconsistent with 
its telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, 
let the truth wound or help whom it may." 

Review of Writings of H. W. Scott 203 

Guided by these ideas, it may be seen that Mr. Scott was 
devoted wholly to the newspaper business and to none other 
even in slightest measure. This policy was the source of his 
influence. He was able to fight silver, coinage in 1896 with 
success because he and the newspaper of which he was editor 
were free; otherwise he could not have made the fight, for it 
diminished greatly the business of the newspaper and made 
heavy losses. "It is an organ of intelligence (September 20, 
1883), rather than of personal opinion that it is of the greatest 
importance that the press should be free." Mr. Scott realized 
fully that "old style" journalism was passing — opinion jour- 
nalism, of Greeley's, Dana's, Watterson's — and that the "neu- 
tral" was taking its place ; the kind that informs and entertains 
and lets the reader draw his own conclusions. The "fighting 
newspaper" was disappearing, he said. Mr. Scott made the 
confession although his was the "fighting" kind. "Journalism 
is a progressive science that must adapt itself to form and 
fashioh and spirit, like everything else" (January 13, 1908.) 

Ideals should not blind an editor or a publisher to practical 
needs of journalism as a business ; in fact, the ideal newspaper 
was not practicable nor attainable. "It would be high-priced; 
it would have, therefore, but few readers ; it would not have 
money enough to get the news, pay its writers and do its work. 
Advertisements are the basis of all modern journalism and 
the best newspapers are those which have greatest income from 
advertisements." (October 24, 1906.) Therefore money- 
making must be the first object — yet legitimate money-making. 
Such revenue must come from advertisements and they should 
be of the right kind. A newspaper cannot be run for senti- 
me'ntal or theoretical purpose, yet cannot wholly ignore require- 
ments of the public in that direction. A judicious newspaper- 
man continually adjusts his course between the two necessities. 
And in matter of news, the editor is dependent o'n public de- 
sires ; he cannot follow his own volitions i'n publishing daily 
events. A strong newspaper must cover all news, within 
decent limits, that varied classes of readers demand, even 
including prize fight "stories." That is to say, the press is 

204 Leslie M. Scott 

controlled by public taste and can influence public taste dnly 
in small degree. "It is not wholly a missionary enterprise nor a 
pursuit of martyrdom. The editor cannot afford to make up 
a paper solely for his own reading or to be read in heaven, 
and he is subject to the influence of the common observation 
that the mass of readers have not the habit of thought or of 
mental application to read of those things that tax the powers 
of the mind, or that bring any real benefit." (January 14, 

Newspaper work is, therefore, a business of complications 
and adjustments. The editor or publisher who abides by his 
ideals as closely as possible, and yet conducts a strong bews- 
paper is very rare. The success of Mr. Scott was a measure 
of his greatness of mind and purpose. It was his fortune to 
have the co-operation of two able partners, Henry W. Corbett,^^ 
who during many years was a large shareholder in the busi- 
ness, and Henry L. Pittock, who later acquired Mr. Corbett's 
share and became controlling owner. Without this support 
Mr. Scott knew his long success as editor of The Oregonian 
would have been impossible; and he valued above all other 
energies in the upbuilding of The Oregonian those of Mr. Pit- 
tock as publisher and manager of the business, without whom, 
as he often said. The Oregonian would have been insignificant 
or would have succumbed. 


This brings to the conclusion of this article, but by no means 
to the end of the subject. For the topics that could be dis- 
cussed here, of the newspaper work of Mr. Scott, would ex- 
pand to any length. He gave his writing all the energies of his 
life and the output was extremely varied in its subject matter, 
large in its aggregate. Much of importance has been omitted 
from mention here, yet the foregoing outline follows the main 
currents of his editorial activity. It was Mr. Scott's lifelong 
desire — and the wish was one of pioneer sentiment — to serve 
the people of the Pacific Northwest always with the best 
thought that was his to give and to have a place, after he was 
gone, in the appreciation of his readers. 

^ }^ ?^"/y Winslow Corbett, born Westboro, Mass., Feb. i8, 1827; died 
Portland March 31, 1903. United States Senator 1867-73. President Lewis and 
Clark Exposition 1902-3. 


By William P. Perkins 

Now rests the hand that held the trenchant pen, 

While from the hearts alike of friend and foe 

Spring words of tribute — words that fire the soul 

With deep determination so to live 

As he has lived, to die as he has died, 

In all the glory of his master mind, 

Effulgent to the end, without regret, 

Serene in faith, that in that upper world 

What here seem shadows, there will glow with light, 

And all life's mysteries will stand revealed. 

My brothers, it is good to live — to feel 

Within our coursing veins the fire of life — 

But, better still, to die, if, when we go. 

In farmhouse, miner's hut, and city street. 

Men speak our names in praise, because we strove 

Not for ourselves, but for our fellow man. 

And he who lived, think not of him as gone. 

But rather that his spirit lives and moves 

Amohg us yet, still urging us to strive 

For high achievement, for the pregnant life 

That comes to him who toils. In years to come, 

More lasting than the deeply graven stone 

Upreared above the portals of the pile 

That, rising heavenward, his labor marks. 

Will be the influence of his strong life 

That strove for right, that yielded not to wrong. 

And oft at night, amid the flaring lights 

And swiftly-movi'ng presses' mighty roar. 

When eager, sweating men shall proudly toil 

To give the world his living monument, 

All spent with mighty task, someone will say : 

"The Master would have had it thus" ; and so 

Shall labor on in love, with high desire 

To render his full mead of tribute sure. 

We cannot choose the page ; for life's brief span 

Marks not the end. The glowing peVi may rust 

And echo only answer to our call ; 

But still his soul lives on, and all the good 

He did on earth shall multiply for aye. 

Step up, bold spirit, you have heard the Voice 

That stirred your soul as with a martial strain ; 

Well done, brave Patriot, rest you here a while. 

Salem, Oregon, August 12, 1910. 



Newspaper editors, throughout the United States, after Mr, 
Scott's death, August 7, 1910, published tributes to his career 
in journaHsm. These appreciations show the universal ad- 
miration with which fellow members of the craft regarded him. 
So numerous were these expressions that their reprint would 
require a publication of large dimensions. A few of them are 
subjoined to show the widespread sentiment as to the Oregon 

New York Tribune : Mr. Scott was an editor who put his 
personaHty into the journal which he directed and made it a 
force to be reckoned with in Oregon life. He was a builder and 
a counsellor whose services will be greatly missed. 

American Review of Reviews : In the death of Harvey W. 
Scott, American journalism lost one of its ablest and most virile 

Brooklyn Eagle: The journalism of the Pacific Coast has 
had no superior and probably no equal to him. The journalism 
of the United States has had few who were more successful 
and none who were more respected. 

New York Editor and Publisher : He left a splendid legacy 
of ideals to> the profession of jour'nalism. He made the Port- 
land Oregonian one of the great newspapers of the nation. 

IndianapoHs Star: The newspaper profession never had a 
finer, braver, truer toiler in its ranks. To its duties he brought 
full knowledge of the lore of antiquity, profound mastery of 
history, intimate acquaintance with the best literature of all 
ages and a style whose simplicity, sublimity and cogency are 
matched only in the highest models. 

Baltimore News : He was one of the big men of the West. 
The esteem in which he was held, the character of the paper he 
built up, amply testify to the fact that he fully measured up to 
the occasion, 

Chicago Record-Herald : A real and vigorous personality 
has disappeared from the stage of independent courageous jour- 
nalism and national thought. 

Tributes to H. W. Scott's Achievements 207 

Indianapolis News : Mr. Scott made his city known by rea- 
son of the force, intelHgence and poHtical sense which he put 
into his paper. 

Minneapolis Tributie : To the Oregon country Mr. Scott 
consecrated his life. All the states and cities he saw grow up 
in it owe a debt to his labors and his ideals. He built up a 
giant newspaper to be its servant in all honest service. 

Providence Journal : Harvey W. Scott was one of Amer- 
ica's great editors and one of its leading citizens. By sheer 
force of his personality and his powerful pen he made himself 
the leading figure of the Pacific Coast. 

Rochester (N. Y.) Democrat-Chronicle: His force of char- 
acter, independence of opinion and courage as the director of a 
great journal made him a power in the public affairs of the 

Boston Transcript : The death of Harvey W. Scott removes 
one of the vigorous personalities of Pacific Coast journalism. 

Hartford Courant : Harvey W. Scott was one of the strong 
men of the Pacific Slope. His paper was built up by him to be 
a mighty power and the reason for its influence was the belief 
the readers had in the sincerity and wisdom of its managing 

Detroit News : To the newspaper readers of Oregon, Wash- 
ington and northern California, Mr. Scott was what Greeley 
and Dana were to Easterners a generation ago. 

Omaha Bee : He was a virile, vigorous, dominant personal- 
ity. In the national cou'ncils of newspaperdom he stood high 
and he leaves a clean, enduring monument in his personal ex- 
ample as well as public service. 

St. Paul Pioneer Press : He left his perso'nal impress upon 
every feature of his paper long after the complex system of 
modern newspaper work had made it impossible for any one 
man to supervise personally all the details of the daily work. 

Springfield (Mass.) Union: His paper has been represen- 
tative of the highest ideals of the Pacific Coastland — clean, able 
and independent. 

Minneapolis Journal : His battle against free silver in 1896 
was typical. It was the greatest tribute ever paid to the educa- 
tional power of a free newspaper. 

208 Tributes to H. W. Scott's Achievements 

Peoria (111.) Transcript: He made his newspaper the most 
powerful on the Pacific Coast. 

Peoria (111.) Journal: He fully deserves the honors that 
Oregon will give him. 

Atlanta Constitution : His death removes one of the greatest 
American journalists, belonging to the school of Greeley, Ray- 
mond and the elder Bennett. 

Buffalo Express : Perhaps his most notable achievement of 
politics was the holding of Oregon to the gold standard when 
all the remainder of the West was crazy for free silver. 

Philadelphia Ledger: The death of the venerable Harvey 
W. Scott removes one of the most picturesque and by all odds 
the most forceful figure in Pacific Coast journalism. 

Boston Herald: The ablest, most independent and most 
widely quoted of Pacific Coast journals, for many years, has 
been the Portland Oregonian. The man, Harvey W. Scott, who 
has been responsible for this supremacy, has just died. 

Pacific Christian Advocate (Methodist) : Oregon has lost its 
most noted and influential citizen. His influence must continue 
to be one of the most potent forces ever exercised on this Coast. 

Portland Journal: In intellect, journalism has known few 
men of equal mould. 

Portland Catholic Sentinel : The Northwest loses one of its 
most commanding figures. Mr. Scott was one of the last sur- 
vivors of the old guard that worked a'nd protested against the 
commercializing process in the daily press. 

Melville E. Stone, General Manager Associated Press : The 
most efficient American editor of the last quarter of a century. 

Tacoma Tribune : He enforced respect for his paper a'nd its 
policies by the sincere and dignified manner in which his enunci- 
ations were put forth. 

Tacoma Ledger : No other man has exerted an influence 
equal to that of Harvey W. Scott in upbuilding of the Pacific 
Northwest. His many years of service as editor of a great 
^newspaper have left a lasting impression on our institutions. 

Bellingham American: Mr. Scott was a great man in all 
the senses of greatness. 

Tributes to H. W. Scott's Achievements 209 

Tacoma Herald: Few men have swayed the pubhc mind 
over as large an area as did Harvey Scott and none has main- 
tained a dominance through so long a period by the exercise of 
purely intellectual force. 

Tacoma News : For some thirty years he was the unques- 
tioned oracle of a domain that embraced all of Oregon with 
numerous outposts extending as far north as British Columbia, 
deep into California, and into the Rocky Mountain region. 

Portland Spectator : Oregon has lost its greatest citizen. 

Pasade'na Star : The Pacific Coast has lost its most conspicu- 
ous journalistic figure. He gave his paper a national reputa- 

Sacramento Bee : He was one of the most remarkable men 
of the Pacific Coast. His newspaper became known all over the 
Union as a leading journal. 

Spokane Herald: The Northwest has lost one of the most 
powerful editors whom American journalism has known. 

Spokane Chronicle : He earned a place among the most hon- 
ored and most useful pioneers of the great Northwest. 

Spokane Spokesman-Review : He was a mighty pioneer in 
molding the thought, the institutions, the career of the Pacific 
Northwest in its plastic time. 

Seattle Times : Mr. Scott was one of the greatest editors 
America has ever produced. 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer : The country has lost the last of 
its great personal editors. 

Seattle Patriarch : His spirit will remain with us as a beacon 
light, solacing the old with fond memories and stimulating the 
youth by the inspiration of his worthy example. 

Seattle Coast: A forceful, honest, fearless pen he wielded. 
Beloved by friends and feared by foes he lived. Honored and 
respected by all he died. 

Seattle Register: The immense influence of his Viewspaper 
' over a large section of the country was due to Mr. Scott's won- 
derful command of language and the forceful and incisive logic 
of his editorials. 

210 Tributes to H. W. Scott's Achievements 

Boise Statesman : He was one of those rugged natures that 
are typical of the West. He was a soldier in the army of the 
common good and was always found ib the smoke and grime of 

Butte News: If the history of American journalism is ever 
written, Harvey Scott will form the subject of a most interest- 
ing chapter. 

Los Angeles Times : When Harvey W. Scott passed away 
one of the great lights of journalism went out. He was a great 
editor in every sense of the word. 

San Francisco Argonaut: Mr. Scott woh and held leader- 
ship in the intellectual and moral life of Oregon by a fortified 
wisdom and by an unshrinking courage. His was the journal- 
ism of social responsibility, and of the spirit of statecraft. 

Idaho Falls Register : He rose to the top as one of the ablest 
and foremost journalists of the world. 

Salt Lake Republican: No other editorial writer in the 
West, and few, indeed, in the whole country, have been read so 
closely as Harvey Scott. 

Salt Lake News : American journalism has lost one of its 
most brilliant lights. The Oregonian is a monument to his 

Salt Lake Telegram: His voice has been the most potent 
ever raised within her (Oregon's) borders. He has done more 
to shape the character of the state thaii any other man. 

Salt Lake Tribune : Mr. Scott made himself a power on the 
West Coast. The whole country will feel poorer because he is 


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Organized Dkccmber 17, 189B 

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of the 

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'■ Cevrriiht, 191 3, by Orcf oa HittMical Sedatr 

The QaMteilr dUavowt niMBnUlity fat the poHtiont uku by «Mlributon t* ilt p«tM 


i Page* 

DANIEL H. LOWNSDALE-Letter of. to Samuel R. Thurston. In- 

troduction by Clarence B. Bagley 213-249 

E. WILLARD SMITH— Journal of, with Fur Traders. Vasquez and 

Sublette. 1839-1840. Contributor's Note by J. Neilsoa Barry - 250-279 
JOHN WORK. Journal of, on Snake Country Expedition, 1830-1831 

Second Half. Editorial Notes by T. C. Elliott - - - 280-314 

F. G. YOUNG— Why Not a Folk Festival in Rose Festival? - - 315-317 


EtUereJ el the post office al Portland, Oregon, at teeond-clau matter 


o( the 

Oregon Historical Society 


Copyright, 191 3, by Oregoa Hiatorical Society 
The Quarterly diiavsws reiponubility for the positioni takes by contributori tc its pages 


Introduction by Clatence B. Bagley 

In December, 1912, the writer spent several days in the 
rooms of the Oregon Historical Society, in Portland, examin- 
ing old manuscripts and newspapers. The collection belonging 
to that Society is large and of historic value that but few even 
of its own members appreciate. 

From 1852 to 1860 our family lived in and near Salem, it 
being the capital of Oregon Territory, where nearly all the 
notable people of those early days congregated at some time 
of the year ; thus their faces and reputations were familiar to 
me. The reading of these letters and documents bearing dates 
of more than sixty years ago from Joseph Lane, James W. Nes- 
mith, Asahel Bush, Matthew P. Deady, et al, brought to my 
mind hundreds of incidents of my childhood when these men 
and their contemporaries controlled affairs in Old Oregon. 

Among these papers and documents were several from 
Daniel H. Lownsdale to Samuel R. Thurston, Oregon's first 
delegate in Congress. The document presented herewith in the 
Quarterly is unsigned, but while reading it the handwriting 
seemed familiar and after a careful comparison with letters 
a'nd documents signed by Mr. Lownsdale, Mr. George H. Himes 
and I, both, by the way, expert in deciphering poor chirography 
and in the recognition of individual penmanship, unhesitatingly 
pronounced it the work of Mr. Lownsdale. 

214 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

The paper throws many sidelights upon incidents and con- 
ditions existing- in those early days and has the greatest value 
because of the prominence of the writer. 

In a recent letter to me from Mr. Himes, he says : — 

"The Diary of Hon. Samuel R. Thurston, beginning No- 
vember 29, 1849, and ending on August 28, 1850, relating to 
his official duties in Washington, D. C, as Delegate in Con- 
gress from Oregon Territory, together with a large number 
of letters received by him, principally from his constituents, 
were secured from the daughters of Mr. A. W. Stowell, whose 
wife was a daughter of Mr. Thurston. Mr. and Mrs. Stowell 
died several years since. 

"My acquaintance with Mr. Stowell began fully thirty years 
ago, but Vio reference was ever made to the Thurston material 
until about 1903 ; then, learning that he had it in his custody, 
I urged him to give it to the Oregon Historical Society, which 
he promised to do in the near future. But he failed to do so 
during his lifetime. Then I took the matter up with his brother 
and through his influence with his nieces the material was 
finally secured. I have the diary partly copied. It ought to 
go into the Quarterly before long." 

The rivalries and disputes between the Americans and the 
representatives of the Hudson's Bay Company and between 
the missionaries belonging to the several church organizations 
began in the late thirties, and are familiar to all students of 
Oregon history. 

A large American Exploring Expeditioii visited and sur- 
veyed Puget Sound and lower Columbia River waters in 1840- 
41, with Lieut. Charles Wilkes at its head. Either he or one 
of his trusted lieutenants visited all the American settlements 
on both sides of the Cascade mountains and an exhaustive re- 
port of the expedition was later printed by the United States 
Gover'nment. Wilkes was in frequent consultation with the 
missionaries and the leading men among the settlers, and later 
became the object of most acrimonious criticisms, charging 
him with disloyalty to American interests and unwarranted 
friendship toward the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 215 

For many years it has been a puzzle to me as to the reason 
for this antagonism toward Captain Wilkes, as it has ever 
seemed to me that he exercised good judgment and sound dis- 
cretion at all times in his visits to the Oregon people. The 
tone of this document is unfriendly to the extreme of bitter- 
ness, which seems to have been caused by the report he made 
about the difficulties and dangers attendant upon the naviga- 
tion of the Columbia river. There were "townsite boomers" 
in those days as well as at the present time, and Mr. Lowns- 
dale was easily their leader at that time. 

Daniel H. Lownsdale was a native of Kentucky and a descend- 
ant of an old southern family. For a time he lived in Indiana, 
then went to Georgia, and in 1845 came to Oregon. In his 
early manhood he acquired a liberal education and then widened 
his knowledge and broadened his views by devoting two years 
to travel and study in Great Britain and Continental Europe. 

The first to lay claim to land on the site of Portland was 
William Overton, of whom little is known. A. L. Lovejoy 
is credited with being the first to entertain the idea of making 
a city there. He came to Oregon in 1842, and in 1843 or 1844 
acquired an interest in Overton's claim. Francis W. Petty- 
grove, who later founded Port Townsend, Washington, soon 
acquired the remainder of Overton's interest, and Lovejoy and 
Pettygrove began work on the embryo city. Its boundaries 
were surveyed, a log cabin was put up in 1844, and in 1845 
the original plat of sixteen blocks was laid off. Overton's 
cabin, put up in 1843, was merely a shed, open in front. 

Oregon City was the first place selected as a townsite in 
Oregon. In 1843 Linn City was founded by Robert Moore 
on the west bank of the Willamette, opposite Oregon City ; and 
Hugh Burns soon after laid off a town below Linn City and 
called it Multnomah. In 1843 M. M. McCarver, who founded 
Burlington in Iowa, Sacramento in California, and Tacoma in 
Washington, together with Peter H. Burnett selected a site a 
few miles below Portland and called it Linnton, in remem- 
brance of Senator Li'nn, of Missouri, one of Oregon's earliest 
and most influential friends during its formative period. In 

216 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

1846 Captain Nathaniel Crosby laid off Milton at the mouth 
of Willamette Slough opposite the north end of Sauvie's Island, 
and about the same time Capt. H. M. Knighton founded St. 
Helens, still further down the river. In 1847 Lot Whitcomb 
laid off Milwaukie, which indeed was a rival to Portland for 
many years. In the same year James Johns founded St. Johns, 
near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. 
Sometime prior to 1850 "Pacific City, Lewis County, Oregon," 
was laid off by Elijah White and he sold lots there. One of 
his printed deeds is among the papers of the Oregon Historical 
Society. Later, Rainier was established on the west bank of 
the Columbia, and in 1870 the land ring of the Northern Pa- 
cific Railway Company founded its first "Pacific Terminus" on 
the east bank of the river nearly opposite its earlier rival, 
Rainier. They called their bantling Kalama, which, by the 
way, was the name of a native of the Sandwich Islands that 
the Hudson's Bay Company brought over to work for it in the 
later thirties. Early in the game of founding cities Astoria 
and Pacific City were earnest rivals and for years made faces 
at each other across the broad waters of Columbia's mouth. 
All of these embryo cities from the ocean to the Falls of the 
Willamette were equally affected by Wilkes' report, and they 
seem to have made common cause against its author. 

Mr. Lownsdale "took up" a claim back from the river, and 
at the same time recognizing the value of the water front pur- 
chased Pettygrove's interests. A few months prior to the date 
of the document under discussion, Stephen Coffin, W. W. Chap- 
man and D. H. Lownsdale became the sole owners of the claim 
and the three set to work methodically to make Portland a city. 
They combined large capital for those early days. They were 
able men, of wide experience, and were courageous and ener- 
getic, as, indeed, were nearly all of the pioneers of that period. 

In passing, I may call attention to the references to Doctor 
Whitman in several places in the document. Those interested 
in the "Whitman Myth" will find much to attract their atten- 
tion in that connection. 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston " 217 

It would not be a matter of surprise if the publication of 
this paper should revive many topics for discussion among 
those interested in the history of Old Oreg-on. 


By the Editor of The Quaiterly 

The first strong impulse with a document like the Lownsdale 
letter is to withhold it from publication. But it is a document 
contemporary with the public affairs with which it has to do ; 
and, moreover, it is in a large measure representative of the 
views of those in the ascendant at the time. While it is utterly 
worthless as a clear source of abstract facts, it cannot be dis- 
credited as an expression of the deeper feelings and of the 
attitude of probably a majority of the Oregon community of the 
later forties. Every statement in it contains an element of 
perverting prejudice, yet it is explicit and it tells what must 
largely have been believed and acted upon at the time. It is 
saturated with poison but it contains what was no doubt in 
the thought and hearts of the majority that elected Samuel R. 
Thurston as Oregon's first delegate to Congress. It interprets 
the first insurgency of the Oregon demos. It is the first 
function of history to understand, so if Oregon history of that 
time and throughout is to be fully understood, this letter of 
Daniel H. Lownsdale is an absolutely indispensable source. 

It will be noted that the writer presents it virtually as the 
brief of the American interests when vital conflicting claims 
between settlers of American antecedents and those of British 
antecedents were about to be brought to an issue before Con- 
gress. This Lownsdale letter was calculated to serve the needs 
of Thurston as he struggled to realize the purposes for which 
he had been sent to Washington. Its resume oif the course of 
events through which the Oregon situation had been evolved 
was just what Thurston had to have in hand as his residence 
in and acquaintance with Oregon had been very brief. The 
document reflects the basis of the attitude of the dominant 
party in the first great marshalling of forces in Oregon's 
political history. 

Portland, August 10th, 1849. 

Dear Sir : Since your departure, I have been writing and 
know not whether I shall have time to finish all I had intended 
and even what I have has been written without proper revision 

218 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

and is very imperfect, and perhaps may not, without a great 
deal of trouble in preparing it for the press, answer much pur- 
pose, — but if it does no more than give you some of the facts 
of vital importance to know, it will have accomplished some- 
thing, — but it all resolves itself into this, that the Hudson's 
Bay interest will represent itself ably, no doubt, during the 
next two years and you cannot too scrupulously watch the 
American interest, and the treaty gives ample scope for them 
to have their rights and also a few which should be turned 
over to Americans. As an advocate of holding treaties 
sacred, I should give it as my desire to see the treaty fulfilled 
but at the same time where there is any matter left to legislate 
on, that the American rights should be attended to, and if neces- 
sary to comply with the treaty that British claimants should 
be paid by the United States Government and not give away 
individual rights to fill the stipulations of treaties. This appears 
to be the aim of the British interests here ; instead of throwing 
themselves on the liberality of their own government, they 
think they should seize all in their power and thereby wrong 
individual citizens of what they have a right to expect from 
our own governme'nt. Instead of their surrendering anything 
which a preference as an American, they should be entitled to, 
the government should give the American the preference and 
if the government is indebted to the Hudson's Bay Company, 
let them be paid out of the public treasury and 'not from the 
dearly earned interest of individuals. I allude particularly 
to the interests of the settlements on land claims and the choice 
of locations on which a grant or pre-emption may be anticipated. 
There has been various instances of American settlers actually 
having been driven from their settlements by force and their 
houses pulled down and at other times burned ; and other times 
on refusal to relinquish their improvements have been put in 
prison by this same Hudson's Bay Company. Now if an 
American has any preference on American territory, why should 
these men be allowed to hold in defiance of that preference? 
From the wording of the Organic Act (latter clause of the 
14th section: "But all laws heretofore passed in said territory, 
making grants of land or otherwise affecting or incumbering 
the title to lands shall and are hereby declared null and void," 
etc.) by Congress, that body may have had this thing in view; 
but our best judges have given it as worded thus from the 
grants by the territorial compact or old organic law of this 
territory. It is clear if the latter has been the cause of this 
clause being inserted; but that body has taken the same im- 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 219 

pression as is generally taken by many here. That it is the 
fact that the old organic law gave grants of land, this same 
thing is plainly the opinion expressed in the memorial to Con- 
gress of 1846; but notwithstanding the English-Scotch me- 
morial of '46, notwithstanding many of our wise men at home 
and our most wise congress should be of this opinion if you 
or they look again you will not find any grant given by that 
old instrument. It makes certain rules by which any man shall 
be governed who was then holding or wishing tO' hold a claim 
of land in this territory ; and not granting either formally or in- 
formally any right to the soil whatever ; but laid down the 
rules as above described to keep down strife among the settlers 
with each other, but at the same time leaving to the anticipation 
of what every American citizen has an undoubted right to ex- 
pect from our mother government — a donation of land, — and 
this too in preference to any occupant of any other nation. If 
the former has been the cause of these words of the organic 
act of Congress for this territory, then have they taken the 
right view of the case ; for by the old organic law the preference 
has been in favor of the foreigner, — not as it was dared to be 
openly expected by the then two-fold character given to that 
instrument, but by the bribery of these monsters who have 
dealt in this manner up to the present in Oregon, to the advan- 
tage of their masters, the H. B. Co. and foreigners. 

A law, however, that has in view justice to Americans set- 
tled in this country cannot give a more just bearing to dona- 
tions or pre-emptions than this same old organic law, for 
the simple reason that by this they would secure their claims 
as they have laid them ; yet it needs considerable qualifications 
to prevent foreigners and those who have not been at any 
trouble to settle and improve the country from sharing with 
those who have a right to their choice and inalienable right to 
what their toil and privations necessarily borne by the first 
settlers. I know of no better mode of a donation law than 
the following which I extract from a letter from one of my 
friends in Missouri ; in which he shows the clear necessity of 
framing the law with an eye to the rights of the Americans 
composed of farmers, mechanics and professional men, all of 
which it takes to make a community, and when you fall short 
of meeting this community (and not individuals) you fall short 
of the spirit of every vital interest of any country in its settle- 
ment. There is one thing, however, which should be kept in 
view. That is, a course to prevent speculators from retarding 
those settlements; therefore, the more simple, plain and de- 

220 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

cisive the law can be worded the better. I will here quote his 
wording, not as your criterion, but it is not amiss to hear all 
that can be said on any subject. 

Said he, "I think the wording of any donation or pre-emption 
law for Oregon should be in these words, namely, (in the body). 
"Every American citizen who has settled permanently in Ore- 
gon territory previously to the proclamation of Joseph Lane, 
the governor of this territory, declaring the laws of the United 
States in force in the said territory, shall be entitled to a grant 
of 640 acres of land, laid out as described in the organic law 
or compact adopted by the people of Oregon territory on the 
twenty-sixth day of July, A. D. 1845, with these qualifications; 
the said donation or pre-emption as above described shall be to 
the American citizens who have been the actual settlers or 
purchasers from the first settler the improvements made on 
the before described donation or pre-emption, who has con- 
tinued to reside in this territory for the term of three years 
and occupied the same and cultivated the soil during that time ; 
and in all cases giving the preference in location to the oldest 
occupancy as before described having made permanent im- 
provements or purchased the same from the original or as- 
signee of the original settlement ; and continued his occupancy 
as assignee or purchaser of the former settler or settlers orig- 
inal ; in person ; or if a mechanic or professional man contin- 
uing to reside in the territory by cultivation by himself or hired 
hand or hands, so to occupy ; but this, however, shall not en- 
title any to hold but one such location or claim, entitling him 
to a donation or pre-emption. No non-resident living in any 
other place than this territory shall be allowed a location or 
claim entitling him to a donation or pre-emption in preference 
to a resident citizen. But in all cases the actual possessor and 
settler, original or purchaser of the same from the original, 
or his assignee, shall be entitled to the preference in location 
and donation, or pre-emption, on which he or his legal prede- 
cessors had selected and improved. Nothing, however, in the 
foregoing shall be construed as to give any legal claimant as 
before described a right to lay his claim on lands covered by 
another previously laid and occupied as before described but in 
all cases the oldest occupant and claimant shall have the pref- 
erence if he has continued to occupy as before described ; and 
be it further enacted that any widow, old maid or young girl 

over the age of shall be entitled to the same donation as 

before described if such shall occupy previous to the proclama- 
tion or shall have resided in this territory three years or con- 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 221 

tinue to do so after moving into the same and shall have de- 
scended from a free white citizen of the United States, and 
otherwise be g-overned by the general stipulation for males." 

These wordings may be a little imperfect but I think, ex- 
cept the definition of age and the requiring a proper surveyor 
to lay out such claims and report to the proper surveyor-general, 
where they are situated, etc., the majority of the people's case 
would be heard and their rights respected. 

The custom house location is another matter which the people 
are interested in. All the objections to the matter being easily 
disposed of, are, the assertions of the Hudson's Bay Company 
and their clique who, if they cannot run the trade into the 
mouth of Clamet river, they will endeavor to gull the people and 
Congress with an assertion that Tongue Point Chanell [sic] and 
the mouth of the Willamette are impracticable and stop the 
trade anywhere but where the people need it, and although 
the Tongue Point bar and the mouth of the Willamette always 
afford as much water as the mouth of the Mississippi, they 
plead it is useless to be at the convenience of having trade in 
our vicinity but put as many trammels on it as if we were 
obliged to cut our own throats because they wished our death 
and could not otherwise kill us. It is well known that at the 
mouth of the Willamette (on the narrow bar of thirty yards) 
there is never less than 12 feet water at low tide and low 
water, and that the tide rises at that place to the height of four 
feet and yet it is impossible, as James Douglas, Ogden and 
Doct. McLaughlin says, to have the trade come so near the 
settlements as Portland. 

The obstruction to any depth of water necessary to vessels 
of any size would be but a trifling matter to remove and in 
the only mo'nth that we have low water in the Willamette dur- 
ing the year we would be relieved from paying tribute in a 
useless expense where the country profited by this, is but a 
speck compared with the upper country, but not so bad, Johnny 
Bull, we will not take your advice, nor take your medicine. 
At any season of the year except when we have had but little 
rain in the fall season ; at full tide we have 17 feet of water at 
present and of course every inch the bar is taken off will add 
to the depth of water (which is a sand bar) but during the 
month of November we sometimes have but 16 feet, but thisis 
even more than the highest tide gives the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi by one foot. 

The history of no country now in existence is of more im- 
portance at the present to the world at large than that of Oregon 

222 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

Territory. Up to the present it has been enveloped in mystery 
and kept, as the fern among the towering fir groves, shut out 
from the sunhght, and in this enchanted condition, for pur- 
poses best known to those who have not only fattened from 
this seclusion but also gives ground to suppose that there are 
sinister motives for the future. At the discovery of the mouth 
of the Columbia river by Captain Gray who entered its mouth 
and ascended to where Astoria is now situated, in the year 
1792, there was no white settlements on this, nor its tributaries. 
After this discovery and report by Captain Gray, the Hudson's 
Bay Company by their agent, Mr. McKinzie, conceived the 
idea of converting the trade of this coast by a chain of trading 
posts to the Atlantic and reported accordingly, the probable 
interest it might make to the English crown by giving the 
United charter to the Hudson's Bay Company and the North- 
west Fur Company and we will see how far their designs have 
been carried out before we come to the present date. 

In the year 1808 John Jacob Astor, after hearing the report 
of Lewis and Clark, came to the conclusion to settle a trading 
post at this point and sent by land a company of men while his 
ship Tonquin sailed around by sea, to their destination, where 
they arrived, the Tonquin entering the mouth and ascendi'ng 
to the station at Astoria, 1811. During the short period of 
two years, Astor's establishment flourished amazingly, and, 
as requested by the energetic traveler, McKinzie, the Hudson's 
Bay Company forced their way westward and commenced their 
course of opposition to the Americans, and in 1813 a British 
brig entered and captured his station, and in 1814 built a fort 
at the place now known by the name of Fort George and re- 
tailed the same until the present, notwithstanding the required 
relinquishing the country by treaty ; they did indeed give up the 
site of Astoria but retained their hold at Fort George when 
the treaty required the surrender of the trade of the whole 
country on its former footing to the Americans. 

Thus, cramped by the Hudson's Bay Company and a con- 
tinuation of their posts up the river, the company continued 
virtually to hold possession of the whole Columbia valley, on 
the east and west of the Cascade mountains, Astor relinquished 
the trade and. although in direct opposition to justice, England 
virtually, by the Hudson's Bay Company, possessed what treaty 
had guaranteed to the American citizen. They entered Oregon 
territory in the year 1810; still continuing westward 1812 they 
made another fort still lower on the Columbia, thence down 
to Walla Walla in 1811 and where Vancouver now stands, 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 223 

1825, thus completing their chain, with that at Fort George, 
to the Pacific. After having the run of the whole fur trade of 
this immense valley and its productions, from the Indian manu- 
facture of skins and in their fisheries until the year 1842 when 
they became alarmed about the prospect of the country's be- 
ing peopled by America'ns under the treaty as conveying it 
from its original claimants the Spanish. In 1843, Doctor Mc- 
Loughlin received orders, as the governor of the western 
branch of this company, to dispatch agents to Fort Hall and 
order them to stop the emigration who had come on that far, 
and if possible prevent them froni crossing the Blue Moun- 
tains. This can perhaps at this date be denied by the managers 
of this band of friends to the American interest, but I will 
just cite you to proof of the fact; to Mr. McKinlay of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, to Mr. Spalding and Eells, mission- 
aries, who were there and know the particulars ; and if that 
lamented friend, Marcus Whitman, had not since been mur- 
dered as well as his papers burned we should have had that 
evidence which they feared to face. When Whitman, who 
piloted the emigration of 1843, arrived at Fort Hah, the diffi- 
culties of the journey was ofifered as an objection to their con- 
tinuing on their journey ; next the danger of Indians ; and when 
they found these men could not be deterred by any other mode 
they threatened to bar them by the Hudson's Bay Company 
having possession of the country and would not allow them 
to settle without coming under their rule. Whitman being a 
well informed man at once told the emigrants they should have 
no difficulty as they were making assertions which they could 
not carry out. Some, however, were deterred, and (by this 
stratagem being presented to them). The great traveler Hast- 
ings (Hastings is now in California at the present and takes 
sides with the Indians, who have murdered many of the citi- 
zens of Oregon, and when those who had relations thus mur- 
dered has made exertions to bring them to a summary justice, 
he has tried to keep the Indians from being detected and lias 
ever acted in unison with the Hudson's Bay Cornpany against 
the Americans in Oregon, and not only a splendid description 
of California given but some say a little golden influence also, 
several were induced to turn to California. Nevertheless, 
Whitman succeeded in bringing several to the west of the 
Blue Mountains, and from thence many into the Willamette 
valley. On their arriving, they found the best portions selected 
by the Hudson's Bay Company and several trading posts, and 
one place in particularly the Willamette Falls, where some ar- 

224 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

rangements for manufacturing- flour and cutting- lumber, etc., 
had been made, and for fear the American government should 
not recognize their right to take up the lands, Doct. McLaugh- 
lin, or Hudson's Bay Company, for the whole of the company's 
business to this day is under his control, fell upon a plan of 
adapting himself to the circumstances and give it out he was 
going to become an American citizen ; and accordingly, to carry 
out his plan of proceeding profitably, looked out who was the 
most influential among the Americans and make them his tools 
for operation in his new course. Accordingly selected for his 
purpose a lawyer, a general, a judge, and some former legis- 
lators. These he first made his servants by taking advantage 
of their needy condition after their long journey, letting them 
have goods to the amount of from five hundred to fifteen hun- 
dred dollars on a credit, and continued to let them have goods 
as they wished at any time. The next thing to be done was to 
set two or three of these men to writing a description of the 
country as given by them, or him, and colored everything to 
their notion. Four years previous to this settlement in 1843, a 
few of the rocky mountain trappers had worked themselves 
down into the westward of the blue mountains and commenced 
farming on a small scale, and hunted and trapped at intervals ; 
and kept up a half-Indian, half-farmer trade with the Hudson's 
Bay Compan3^ A Mr. Griffin, also a missionary, had settled in 
the Tuality plains during the year 1838 as a missionary, and 
had intercourse with the same and was well acquainted with 
the proceedings of those of the American navy who had vis- 
ited Fort Vancouver. Through him and some seven of tlie 
trappers in the same section of the country, I obtained my in- 
formation with regard to their reception and treatment at the 
fort. As is usual, they have evinced great hospitality to the 
American officers, and made every show of kind feeling for 
their country. After this course of treatment, it may be well 
understood how it has been possible to so corrupt the reports 
to our government, respecting the mouth of the Columbia and 
other matters vitally afiPecting the interests of this territory. 
After enjoying a week of leisure and living well, and not in- 
frequently a "spree" in which a free use of the wine and brandy 
was common, it softened the heart and opened the disposition to 
get written statements from the honourable governor of the 
Hudson's Bay Company of all the particulars of the trade, 
navigation and history of events connected with the country, 
and such, I venture the assertion, from good authority, are 
the reports sent to Congress as being his official productions 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 225 

and research. It is a well known fact that the description of 
places and circumstances correspond at least, with what they 
have made it, and particularly the mouth of the Columbia, 
"a nest of dangers/' Their leaders even refer to Wilkes' re- 
ports with great satisfaction, although at the same time charge 
him with having but little "brave seamanship." See the Oregon 
Spectator where Doct McLaughlin and Douglas over the 
signature of Truth Teller give their views (in Vol. 1, No. 26), 
or rather their report to the world. But now comes the secret : 
It is well known that their plans and management have always 
been to keep out the American trade, and thereby always 
have the Americans under their management in trade, and this 
is what made the "nest of dangers" at the mouth of the Colum- 
bia, and now for facts : first, whether it was manufactured for 
the benefit of their plans or not, such is the fact, that there is an 
old chart which has been put into the hands of such strangers 
as intended sailing to the mouth of Columbia river, by the 
Hudson's Bay Company's agent at Honolulu, which has falsely 
marked on it the bearings of the various bars, breakers, chan- 
nels, etc., and woeful experience has told these same strangers 
that there was marked for the channel places where no ship 
could ever have run without falling into their "nest of dangers," 
and further that one of these charts has been in the hands of 
Nathaniel Crosby, Jr. (the only man who has entirely suc- 
ceeded in any great degree to develop the facts.) This same 
Nathaniel Crosby has been engaged in the Sandwich Islands 
and California trade from this place for the space of four 
years, making a voyage to and from each of these places to 
Portland about once every 2 months, and without a single 
accident in passing out and into the mouth of the Columbia 
river — and further gives it as a fact from the depth of water, 
the width of channel and everything connected with the passage 
to be as easy to pass as any entrance in the United States, and 
this you will see by looking over Crosby's chart made from 
the year 1845 up to the present. 

The ship Main was an example of the effects of the Hud- 
son's Bay agents' advice, etc., [ ?] at Honolulu for by this chart 
as before described the master sailed. And now for the pro- 
ceedings of the Naval officers' reports and proceedings dur- 
ing their stay in Oregon. 

In 1841, I believe in August, having previously got an old 
chart from the Company's agent at Honolulu, Lieutenant 
Wilkes made an attempt to come into the river and his re- 
ports will show the result. Feeling chagrined that he should 

226 LovvNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

have lost this old vessel taken during the last war with Great 
Britain, and fearing to have his "seamanship" and other mat- 
ters appear very slack, it can easily be accounted for by our 
knowing the circumstances from good authority, why his re- 
ports have made the mouth of the Columbia out in accordance 
with the Doctor-Governor, and Sir Edward Belcher's reports 
"the nest of dangers." And before leaving this subject, will 
just say that since August, 1848, the operations of the golden 
region of California, we have been without any stationed pilot 
at the mouth ; and that during that time we have had thirty- 
one departures and 28 arrivals, and not a single (up to August 
1849) accident of a serious nature happened; and seven of 
these arrivals by entire strangers, one of which was the steam 
propeller Massachusetts drawing 17 feet water, which not only 
came and departed but ascended as far as Portland and took 
in a cargo of lumber. And also that these vessels running in 
and out have done this without having any pilot to direct their 
course, which thing is certified by Crosby and others who have 
been constantly in the trade, and all corroborate the statement 
that with an efficient stationed pilot there would be no necessity 
for more disasters there than any other entrance in the United 
States. But to the reception and treatment, etc., of our officers 
and their reports after the disastrous wreck of the Peacock. 
The then Commodore Wilkes was insisted to go up the river 
to Vancouver, v/here the principal trading post of the Hudson's 
Bay Company is situated, and to which post there has been a 
messenger sent from Fort George giving intelligence of the 
wreck and probability of the officers visiting the Doctor and 
Governor. About the middle of the month of August, accord- 
ingly, a canoe, with supplies and formal invitation to come up 
and spend the leisure time at Vancouver, our officers, Wilkes at 
their head, started the next day up the Columbia. Arrived 
within 80 rods of the fort when they were saluted for effect 
by the guns of the fort (for this and the rest of the forts have 
bastions and artillery mounted.) This, however, being only 
intended to pay respect to the American Flag, the naval offi- 
cers of that proud republic felt a little raised by the token of 
respect received from these haughty Aristocrats. The boat's 
crew was ordered to pitch the markee on the green and make 
ready for their dinner, but at this moment a gray headed, 
stout built, athletic appearing personage, bearing in his left 
hand a snuff box and in his right an oaken cane, his manner 
being on the whole affable yet to an acute observer it was 
manifest he felt his aristocratic dignity and at the same time 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 227 

seemed to consider he should approach Americans with Amer- 
ican freedom and ease — on his left hand was a somewhat short 
but corpulent man a pace in rear of the former and off to the 
right, and several paces in rear, a slender dark complected 
individual, whose keen eye appeared to scan the group of Amer- 
icans with scrutiny, — but as the leader came up and commenced 
the harangue the other twO' appeared to divide to right and 
left, and face inwards to the speaker — commenced with these 

words, "Ye are Americans, I suppose. I am ," etc., etc., 

soon showing by his dialect that he had known in his younger 
days the "Highlands of auld Scotland" and with the affability, 
mixed with hasty blustering words often repeated, as if to give 
them their proper place and bearing, he greeted the American 
camp, taking off his hat at the same time, to give effect, but 
immediately placing it on his head again. With all his native 
warmth he offered the young Americans the accommodations 
and any assistance the fort and company could render. A 
little fired with the affable manner in which they had been 
offered and the desire to obtain what information they might 
be able to obtain, after a short consultation on the retiring of 
mine host, a messenger was dispatched to the elevated steps 
to notify him of their acceptance, not, however, until some 
canvass. Lieutenant Wilkes asked the younger officers in con- 
sultation if they were satisfied to accept the hospitalities which 
had been offered in this characteristic manner. All assented 

but one, Mr. , about 20 years of age, usually taciturn 

and rarely offering but little objections to the apparent wishes 
or his fellows. He arose from his seat on a small box con- 
taining some spirituous liquors, which had been brought from 
the wreck and, gracefully bowing towards the senior officers, at 
the same time saying in a clear but not loud voice, "Sir and gen- 
tlemen : I am sorry at any time to differ in the slightest de- 
gree from your wishes or sentiment, but in this I do here see 
some ground to differ in opinion with you, wherein I feel 
called upon by my sense of duty to object to receiving these 
hospitalities in the manner in which they are offered. Do 'not 
mistake my words as being opposed to the receipt or recipro- 
cation but I am opposed to laying myself under obligations 
to any nation or their representatives whereby the weakness 
of my nature and the very feeling which makes me willing to 
receive these ki'nd demonstrations of hospitality, unhinges my 
efficiency as an officer of the United States, from reporting 
the facts which may exist in the relations we bear as a gov- 
ernment to that of Great Britain, of whose interests this same 

228 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

Hudson's Bay Company are the representatives. This is what 
is meant by the presents forbidden to be accepted by any offi- 
cers of our government, spoken of in the constitution, but if 
I could be certain these kindnesses should cease with the offer- 
ing and receiving in person should be accomplished, I should 
have no objection but I know by all precepts and example this 
will not be the case to the letter." The speaker resumed his 
seat, and in a jocular manner one of a more lively tempera- 
ment replied, "Well, Charles, we will give you the task of 
making out the reports, while we drink the champagne and 
by this we will accomplish the wishes of our government and 
use up John Bull's wine at the same time." The witty saying 
raised a smile of approbation on the lip of the Co. and of sat- 
isfied resignation on the countenance of the former speaker, 
the question being carried to accept ; and all repaired to the 
fort inside the walls or pickets where the lively jokes and 
yarns passed for several days in succession. To still add to 
the comforts and convenience of the party, runners were 
started to various sections of the country where the company's 
bands of horses ran to bring in such as were sprightly and 
fit for the saddle. Various excursions were proposed and made 
to the various places giving a pleasant view and convenient 
ride. Until late in the Fall, these amusements and hospitable 
recreations and enjoyments, such as now, in this country, al- 
though there were a few Americans here, there were none 
able to compete with their neighbors in kind treatment of their 
countrymen ; consequently, the vital influence, or any descrip- 
tion of this country which would have any bearing upon Amer- 
ican interest, prejudicial to John Bull, was impossible. 

All appeared to go off well until just before the gallant com- 
pany should leave for their destination, join the exploring 
squadron and proceed with their discoveries. But during the 

time this party remained, the same before mentioned Mr. , 

who objected to receiving their hospitalities, had kept a journal 
of all he had seen and heard, but not taking the Scotch version 
of it, but according to facts. Now it was a void of some three 
months in the chain of official reports which would make a 
gap in the connected chain of glory to which our Commodore 
aspired. He now commenced making some arrangements for 
recording the facts, and, naturally enough the questions regard- 
ing the locality and internal, as well as external, situation of 
business and prospects of the country should be put to his 
honor, the Doctor, Governor, who, with his clerks, was ready 
to give all answers and descriptions in writing, a copy of which 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 229 

was invariably kept, to answer the purposes of 'negotiations 
hereafter to be made by the British g-overnment, and, accord- 
ingly, copied and forwarded to the Minister of Foreign Af- 
fairs. These written answers to questions and descriptions of 
places so well agree with what has been published and referred 
to in commo'n conversation, shows how well these answers 
and descriptions suited their purposes. After examination of 
these subjects so ably described by the Doctor, this was the 
course pursued : to save time for recreation and give a proper 
bearing to all the interests concerned, the famed explorer 
thought it the shortest and easiest mode to make these written 

reports (as the clerk and Mr. can testify) by the famed 

doctor and Grovernor was signed and countersigned as the true 
reports. You can see how effectual they have answered the 
purpose — as you can see from the orders given to the Com- 
mander of the Squadron in the bay of San Francisco in dis- 
patches sent by the Collector destined for the mouth of Colum- 
bia river, requiring him to convey the collector to be landed 
in Latitude 42, the mouth of the Clamett, and furnish an escort 
to convey him to Oregon City. Just see the order to the Com. 
as aforesaid, and which would have been much easier to have 
been accomplished from Sutter's fort on the Sacramento. 

But to my history again, and beginning where I left the 
company having, after they could not prevent the emigration 
of 1843 from coming into the territory, they fell into this 
managing course of turning circumstances to good account by 
the influence of the writings and action of the lawyer, the judge 
and the general with their helpers, the former legislators. 
Several letters were accordingly written home and not a few 
with the Governor-Doctor's name couched in them ; as a speci- 
men of aristocratic Republican and Scotch Democracy ; in such 
a jumble that I for one came to the conclusion that our people 
had been humbugged, or I had formed but a slight idea of how 
these Hudson's Bay managers were, but finally thought I was 
perhaps prejudiced against them and had taken a former 
view through colored glasses. But the result of all told a dif- 
ferent tale, for these men, first employed by the company, had 
each also a private interest to serve and accordingly when they 
came in contact with each other one by one fell off, and, like 
the noted Catholic priest, Humbolt, told on the rest, and as 
soon as one was found to think more of the American, interest 
than the company's, they were not only denounced by the fra- 
ternity, but the account from the Hudson's Bay Company was 
presented showing their indebtedness, with a polite note ap- 

230 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

pended, saying "We are in much need of the 1500 dollars (or 
greater sum, as it might be)." And now comes the tug of war, 
and a man in their service (I do not mean industrial) must 
become a good Christian, of the Jesuit order, before he could 
receive any of these favors (formerly carelessly bestowed) as 
the former Governor and Doctor knew best how to use such 
being of the same persuasion himself. This is not fancy, for 
in reality the o'nly ones who were trusted with their business 
and who had labored for them for years joined the Catholic 

At the first establishment of a temporary government, the 
way was prepared by these leaders to let in the English sub- 
ject with the American citizen on an equal footing, so far as 
word was concerned, and having our principal men broken into 
their service and so very tractable that for the first two years 
they took by storm all the fortification of American principle. 
The year forty-five, however, brought a large emigration and 
with that crowd many who were aware of the difficulties they 
had to encounter, but these same men only opened the way 
for greater struggles. At the openi'ng of the second session 
of that after the Organic Law was formed, being in the fall 
of '46, the former controlling influence presented itself in the 
councils of the territory ; first in this shape, that the prospects 
being good for the difficulties having been settled between the 
two nations as was represented by treaty — least by trickery 
former legislation, the company would sufifer by any action, 
therefore, proposed an adjournment to await the extension of 
jurisdiction of the United States. As all legislation was in 
their favor formerly and any alteration would likely result 
to their injury; accordingly, Robert Newell, the American who 
was known to be a professed Hudson's Bay man of the first 
water, put in motion, but awful to tell the thing would not 
work as they expected, and a rally of all the troops made to 
secure their success ; but all in vain — they now fell back onto 
the old expedient of using (not the Irish blarney) but Scotch 
affability o'n such as resisted their wishes — but it is as awful to 
tell as in the first instance. There was a majority fell victims 
to their wiles. One had looked at a claim of land adjoining 
Fort Vancouver that pleased him and which he wished to 
record as an American citizen. But Mr. Douglas, now gover- 
nor of the Hudson's Bay Company, peremptorily ordered him 
not to do it, a'nd this stirred the American's feelings so that 
he had declared vengeance against them and dared say so out 
of Douglas' presence; but now this would come in good play; 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 231 

accordingly a letter was dispatched to the Colonel, stating 
that "we have concluded to move our lines that you can have 
the claim of land where you desired and I herewith send you 
the field 'notes of the survey made by your brother who has 
surveyed forty of our claims in this vicinity and you have our 
consent to have it recorded in the books of the territory." (See 
the record of Dec, 1846, made in the name of this Colonel, Sir 
-named Lawrence Hall, and with regard to these claims sur- 
veyed by them his brother can testify.) Being spoken to by the 
Colonel on the subject, he read the quotation above. The gilded 
bait was taken and ere the session closed we found him at 
the head of a committee to draft a memorial to Congress from 
this legislature, and with his own pen writing the preamble 
and leading paragraph of the memorial, as follows, "We, your 
memorialists, are Scotch, English, French and Americans," and 
after another preliminary remark, continued, "We would re- 
spectfully ask your honorable body to grant us our lands as 
we have laid them, having laid them in accordance with the 
Organic Lazv." Here would just say I think this is misunder- 
stood by many as giving a grant of land when if you will look 
at them it is only a requisition of the territory of any person 
holding or wishing to hold a claim. Thus was one allured. 
Another, who liked to toss the brandy bottle, was glad to re- 
ceive their aid to pass a liquor law, and for and in consideration 
of which Hudson's Bay Company be the only speculators in 
liquor. See the liquor license law of 1846. Importers paid 
no duties but the manufacturer paid $100 for the privilege to 
make, as they should be charged no duty for importing it but 
he that distilled should pay his $100 license for their benefit. 
Another wished to have the company enjoy all the privileges 
we enjoyed as American citizens, and privileged to throw res- 
ervoirs across public roads and prevent them from going to 
the only public mill then in the territory that could grind any 
quantity of wheat, &c. And during the action of that body the 
mill had a notice posted on the door and other places near 
but after their friends thot fit to leave this public mill as it had 
ever been before, was opposed to grinding the wheat of the 
people without they would sell 70 lbs. wheat for about 60 
ce'nts and buy flour at three dols. per hundred. McLaughlin's, 
or, as it was then called, by themselves, H. B. Co. mill, never 
ground for the people, yet advertised during the time of debate 
on obstructing the road the member from Vancouver said this 
H. B. Co. mill was a public mill. By the next day, however, 
they refused to grind for ind. To conclude the proceedings of 

232 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

the legislature of '46 and up to the present: there has been 
but little change until the extension of jurisdiction when the 
company became sheared of a portion of their power, partic- 
ularly those of the Hudson's Bay Company's servants, who, 
with their half-breed people, were barred from voting. This, 
however, being the last struggle, they got up a plan to split 
the American interest and throw in by their exertions one as 
a delegate who would be under obligatio'ns to them, and so have 
an advocate to their interest. 

I will return to the history of the doctor and the company's 
history as far back as '45. On the arrival of the emigration 
of '45, those leading the caravan, being twenty in number, 
landed in boats from Walla Walla, sending their cattle down 
by land. When they arrived at the fort on the 23rd of Septem- 
ber, they were asked into the fort and the apparent leaders were 
asked into the doctor's reception room where they were ques- 
tioned closely as to the numbers of emigration and probable 
expectation of donations of land, and in short all that could give 
him any clue to his best future course. After he had all the 
information he could get the next thing was to act according 
to his interest. In his characteristic manner he observed, 
speaking very fast, "a host of you Americans coming, ha ! glad 
to see it ! Am going to take the oath of allegiance ! Am going 
to leave Hudson's Bay Company, move to the falls. Have 
bought out the store and mills at the falls of Willamette — 
going to move next week." After we had heard all that he 
had to say, left for the Willamette valley, ruminating on the 
doctor's fanciful Americanism. He, however, did not move 
to the falls until about the time the bulk of the emigration 
came in, when he took possession of the store, mill and claim 
and settled himself as the sole proprietor of Oregon City sta- 
tion and mills, apparently entire owner, but from the moves 
with regard to ownership as a chess player he changed his 
position as to the trading post mill &c. as follows : In 1845, 
Doctor McLaughlin was owner of the trading post, mills and 
claim; in the summer of 1846, the company owned all; during 
the session of the legislature in December, 1846, John Mc- 
Laughlin owned the mills and claim, but the Hudson's Bay 
Company re-purchased their trading post again. To explain 
this, you will only have to refer to the propositions of the 
treaty to see his moves and you find it corresponds with his 
and their changes. These propositions, unfortunately for them, 
were as often published as the substance of the treaty expected ; 
when the first definitio'n of the treaty came to hand, after he 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 233 

had thrown all into the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company 
(published in a dispatch from the consul at Tepic, the descrip- 
tions of the articles or substances being- kept from the public 
for fear of the cause of the transfer of property had to be made 
before it could be seen) ; the purport of the treaty was to give 
sixteen miles square to the Hudson's Bay Company at each 
trading- post, but during the session of the legislature in Dec. 
'46 the company's express was brought over the mountains, 
bringing the true treaty. But he was again foiled, if he could 
not have time to make the papers correspond with the treaty 
before publication — therefore, although the members of that 
body insisted to have the favor of looking at the papers brought 
by the express, not a single individual American could get 
that favor, nor did any publication show the treaty, until an 
American vessel brought files by sea, and in the debate concern- 
ing the removal of the reservoir, the member from Vancouver 
cited in evidence of the facts necessary to carry their point 
"the Hudson's Bay Company's mill (not Doctor McLaughlin's) 
is a public mill." But the treaty came three days after this, 
and the mill and claim of land with that splendid water power 
belonged to John McLoughlin. A'nd the member from Lewis, 
alias Doct. Tolmie of the Hudson's Bay Company's chief clerk, 
fell from his post, and now after the true definition of the 
treaty giving special privileges to the Puget Sound Agricul- 
tural Society, he fell into the management and head of the said 
society but yet returned 'not only to his station in fort Nis- 
qually but continues to this day, as does Doctor AlcLaughlin, 
the chief governor of the Hudson's Bay Company's business 
as effectually as they ever did, and although the said John 
McLaughlin and said Tolmie have said to change positions, 
and intend to profit by the treaty after their avowal of their 
inte'ntions to apply and take the oath of allegiance to the 
United States, I should not be surprised if they refuse. And 
the said McLaughlin is selling lots to the people of the United 
States, and he at the same time a subject of Great Britain — 
the facts have so often been talked over with their admission of 
these facts, it is useless to refer to individual testimony, for 
they are notorious. How it is that they are permitted to have 
such a hold on our government that they should be permitted 
even to the throwing houses down and putting the American 
occupant into prison is a mystery that is hard to solve — and 
it says not a little of the forbearance of an American people, 
particularly of those in Oregon. 

234 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

I will now return to the history of the country in general 
from forty-three. After the company found Doctor Whitman 
opposed the doctri'ne that the Hudson's Bay Company had 
or dared to hold possession of Oregon, it now was their policy 
to get him from among the Indians that they might use them 
as they had been used by Great Britain during the revolution 
and last war, as a check to what they thought dangerous to 
their interest, i.e., settling Oregon by Americans or to assist 
in a war, if thought expedient, against the United States. Ac- 
cordingly the Indians were encouraged in anything that seemed 
like opposition to his plans. Doctor Whitman was advised 
to sell his station and abandon the missionary enterprise. This 
he, however, refused to comply with ; the'n to further annoy 
the settlers the prospect of an outbreak of the Indians, (Many 
times have we heard this assertion made as if by prophecy 
that in case the United States gave no land to all that then 
had the right of suffrage (including half-breeds and British 
subjects) they would massacre all the whites in Oregon as 
the Indians should join the half-breeds a'nd make it an easy 
matter to subdue them, ) at any time any of the plans which had 
been laid were thwarted, particularly those kind of petty thiev- 
ings and robberies of emigrants on their journey through the 
different tribes east of the Cascade mountains, — and the mat- 
ter always known to the Hudson's Bay Company, who, al- 
though they said they could not prevent such occurrences, 
encouraged such acts by paying for the articles of which the 
Americans were robbed, and exacted from those Americans 
the amount of the goods so purchased of the Indians, at least 
what they said they had paid to the Indians to release the 
goods. It is also notorious that they, the H. B. Co., have al- 
ways possessed entire sway over the Indians and that they 
represented to the Indians that the "King George people" (as 
termed the H. B. Co. by the Com.) were not friends of the 
"Bostons" (the name by which the Americans were called,) and 
that they were not one people, and when they offended the 
"Bostons", the "King George people" were not "sylex" (In- 
dian word of Chinook language,) or displeased, and would not 
"nwmioke sylex," that is to go to war with the Siwash (or In- 
dians,) but if the Sizuash Cochshut icht King George Tilicum, 
capsh^walla ictas King George liias sylix mamoke poo (or if 
any Indian should do harm to the persons or property of the 
Hudson's Bay Company's people they would go to war with 
and shoot everyone that were guilty.) To explain more fully 
here what I mean I will just relate a conversation between the 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 235 

Chief of the Walla Wallas with Mr. McBane [McBean] on this 
subject during the late Cayuse war, in presence of the Commis- 
sary General, one of the commissioners to treat with the Indians, 
the Ordinance master of the regiment, and a Lieutenant of the 
army as they called at Fort Walla Walla on their march to 
Wayalatpu. After Mr. McBane, through the interpreter, had 
labored some time to keep the impression on the chief that 
they (the H. B. Co.) had nothing to do with the war and that 
they only should consider the Americans their enemies, and 
at the same time they were friends to both Americans and In- 
dians — After this harangue to the chief who sat as it were 
ruminating for several seconds, after the cessation of McBane, 
in rather a spirited manner, he replied to McBane in these 
words, "We (the Indians) have always been told by you this 
same thing, but I cannot understand what you say — you say 
you and the Americans are not friends — you say you and the 
Indians are friends — you say you and the Americans are not 
friends, and you say you are not afraid of the Americans — 
and you say you are afraid of the Americans — you have always 
told us that King George was master of all the white people 
in this country and when we come to you for powder and balls 
you tell us you cannot let us have it because you are afraid 
the Boston Tyee (American chief) will be mad and how is 
this? I do not understand it that you shall be afraid of the 
Bostons if yoii are masters? And how is it if you are not 
friends of the Bostons you will not let us have powder and 
lead? For you always bought what the Indians 'capswalla' 
(stole) from the Bostons and told us the Americans had come 
here to capswalla our lands and horses and kill us. I do not 
understand your talk." (Explanatory to this I will just refer 
to a law being enacted called the Organic law that was framed 
by the people in Oregon, assuming that all in the territory 
should be mutually protected and benefited by this compact and 
all bound to support the laws enacted by this compact, and a 
law under this compact at the time of a declaration of war 
against the Cayuse Indians was made, forbidding the Indians 
in the territory being furnished with powder and lead. This 
brought the Indians and their former allies in contact, and 
this was the matter which brought out the former advice and 
connivance of the H. B. Co. out), but their opposition to the 
furnishing the Indians held a two-fold interest at stake,— first, 
the trade, and, second, the destruction of American influence 
with the tribes. 

236 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

All things continued much in the same channel until the 
year 1847 when it appeared evident something was wrong. 
As Humbolt said would be, there appeared various priests 
mixed with the American congregation, — some from Canada, 
others from France and as they were in the foremost com- 
panies, had time to spread out among the Indians before the 
whole of the emigration got into the Willamette valley. Either 
from former arrangement as explained by Humbolt, or some 
other view, the Hudson's Bay Company's managers at Fort 
Hall and Fort Walla Walla (being near Whitman's) made a 
proposal to that lamented victim to buy him out and let the 
Catholic Jesuits have it. This was refused by Whitman. They 
then advised him to leave or the Indians would murder him. 
He yet refused to abandon. The priests then, through the in- 
fluence of Mr. McBane, chief clerk at the fort, bought and 
obtained the privilege of settling for the priests in the Cayuse 
nation near the Utilla river, at the foot of the Blue Mountains, 
and within a short distance of Whitman's ; and commenced 
giving lectures to the Indians on religious matters, and at the 
same time told the Indians that Doct. Whitman was a heretic 
and bad man and ought not to live. This fired their minds 
and anything which formerly appeared to them mysterious was 
turned into the works of the Devil, and particularly his giving 
medicine in sickness. They represented it as dangerous and 
that the Indians were punished by the Great Spirit in heaven 
with the diseases which had, that fall, been brought with the 
emigration, such as measles and whooping cough, and it was 
sent to punish them for obeying the American doctor and he 
should have said he would poison all the Indians when they 
came to him for medicine, and that the Americans only came 
into their country to steal and take their land and horses and 
cattle. To conclude the whole from good evidence, consider- 
able of which has been published in the Oregon-American, the 
aim appeared to remove the American and plant the Jesuits 
in their stead and we will find how it resulted, when the history 
of only about three months will show that Doctor Whitman 
was murdered with his whole family and a number of Amer- 
icans who had stopped for the season at and near his place, 
together with various robberies and such deeds of barbarism 
even in the presence and sanction of the biship and priests 
who yet remained at his station. These deeds that were done 
are here too horrid to appear before the public, not as a truth 
that should not be told, but deeds of the most atrocious nature, 
to be committed by those Indians on the persons of the young 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 237 

females taken prisoners and reserved from slaughter only to 
glut their brutal passions, and that with the sanction and advice 
of these same Jesuitical priests and b'ishop. 

But let us go on with our history : After these were slaugh- 
tered like so many sheep, some of which as though it was in- 
tended to torture them, others shot down as beeves, and the 
women such as were reserved being most of them of single 
females under 25 years of age were divided out and the most 
shocking course of prostitution forced upon them, one of which 
was taken to the bishop and deposited. When the man who 
brought her there (being a chief man among the Indians) 
asked the bishop how he should proceed to make her submit 
to him, when he, the bishop, could coolly give directions on 
which the Indian dragged her off to his lodge, and she crying 
with supplication entreaties that she might be spared this 
dreadful task, but. no, he. the bishop, in an angry manner bid 
her to go off with this Indian and not to come back to him 
again without having submitted to his will. This and many 
other such horrible deeds were committed could be related, 
but I will not here take the time as the most have been pub- 
lished in the Oregon American. 

The legislature met shortly after and on the receipt of the 
news declared war against the Cayuse Indians, and passed 
the law forbidding any trading establishment or individual 
from trading powder and lead to the Indians, but in the face of 
the territory P. Skeen Ogden, the chief factor of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, and mock governor at Vancouver, passed up the 
river into the country of the Indians who had become our 
enemies and sold a considerable quantity of powder and balls, 
and as bad always been their practice when they robbed the 
Americans, they took the prisoners (after having become tired 
of their brutal'sports) to Walla Walla to sell them and their 
booty taken at the same time, and receive from him at Walla 
Walia powder, lead and guns in exchange. So far as the 
return of children to parents, brothers to sister, and property 
of the rightful owners, it was well enough ; but this conniving 
at such deeds and always having done the same thing, when 
the Indians were always subservious to their wishes and fur- 
ther, this at the same time when all were pledged mutually to 
protect each other. War now having been declared made them 
agreeable to all the laws of nations, part and parcel of the 
American side of the question. Now see how far they went 
with their former agreement of alliance. 

238 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

Commissioners were appointed by the legislative body who 
had declared war to negotiate a loan of one hundred thousand 
dollars from the Hudson's Bay Company, — being the only 
chance of the kind in Oregon — to carry on the war but will 
you be surprised when I say they refused to loan ; but be not 
surprised they would not let it go, yet had abundance and to 
spare ; neither would they let a single man in their employ go 
to the campaign, but, in everything, opposed the going to war. 
Doctor McLaughlin being the controlling genius of all the 
French and half-breeds forbid them to go, but this stirred up 
the American feelings a little and after he saw the Americans 
were determined to avenge what had been done by these 
merciless bands and what was being said about the part the 
Jesuits had taken in the case, he called Peter H. Burnett, one 
of his counsellors, and advised with him what should be done ; 
he being not only acquainted with the American character but 
also hearing, as he was an American, what they said about it, 
and as a good Christian of the same order with himself and 
the priests, he wished his advice. His advice was : if you can 
let a few go, I can fix it so as to have its eflfect, and they stay 
as long as will give the coloring to it, as being favorable to 
the American cause, and after a service of about two months 
they can return home, and I will do the same myself, for you 
know it is necessary for me to not lose my American character. 

In accordance, Captain Thos. McKay was ordered by the 
doctor to raise a company of men and make as great a show 
as possible from among the French Catholics and volunteers 
for but two months, for it will take you about three weeks to 
march there at this season of the year and three weeks to 
come back and unless you get into close quarters you can evade 
the fighting our Indians ; and this will entitle the Catholics to 
have their land donated to them whether they are citizens or 

"Yes," says Peter H. Burnett, "and I will go out home and 
make a hue and cry and make believe I shall go to war too." 
And sure enough he did for at that time there was a man left 
by Colonel Gillam to take up a list of a company in Tuality 
plains and Burnett took occasion to make a fiery speech and 
proposed to march at once but never would agree to put his 
name on the list. (That would bind him.) Yet 45 others 
did and he, with about fifteen of the company, started to go 
to the rendezvous at Portland when, (whether by design to 
flustrate the meeting of the company or whether it was through 
fear to face the foe, we cannot say, but one thing is certain, 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 239 

Peter H. Burnett and his particular friends never went) ready 
to leave the plains there was a report started saying the Cayuse 
Indians had come to the settlement and were at a certain Indian 
lodge in the plains and wonderful to say they met at the lodge 
on the morning the troops were to leave Portland for the up 
country and found one crippled old woman, two small children 
and an old Indian man, but this answered the purpose for 
which it was got up, and out of 45 men twenty-eight met at 
rendezvous, the rest following Burnett twenty miles the other 
way to take by storm this Indian camp as before described. 
Thus he foiled this part of the army, at least as far as the 17 
men which were reported as defaulters. The balance, 28, left 
for the Cayuse country in boats and arrived and was reported 
at The Dalles to Col. Gill [i] am ready for service. The band, 
at first published in the Spectator (being edited at that time 
by a member of the Jesuit order) numbered a full company of 
67 rank and file, but when they appeared had to gather some 
three of the cultas or trifling Americans to make their number 
thirty who did advance with the rest of the army to Wayalatpu. 
To suit everything to their wishes, the Hudson's Bay Company 
advised what should be done in the progress of the war (this 
suited them.) They quickly answered the governor, who by 
the by, except being an entire peace man, was not disposed to 
bear the insult on the American people without summarily 
punishing it. But at this time all were poor and had their 
families to supply in a new country and not the means to be 
spared for an emergency like the present and but few in- 
dividuals could contribute means to sustain the territory. A 
few, however, did contribute out of their scanty means enough 
to fit out and provision the army of about four hundred for a 
short time. 

The Hudson's Bay Company still held out against the will 
of the people and they having almost all the moneyed business 
in the country under their control gave them an influence 
on the war that perhaps can now be traced to its defeat, for 
by the moves of that party to have a controlling influence they 
plead that there was danger of having the whole of the tribes 
on this side of the mountains join against us and thereby en- 
danger the families of those engaged against the murderers 
murdered in their absence until they succeeded in getting our 
leaders to give way to their direction, which was to appoint 
commissioners to treat with other tribes in the vicinity of the 
Cayuse nation which gave them the advantage by the neces- 
sity for their servants or men who were under their control 

240 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

to act as interpreters or literally those commissioners. Accord- 
ingly, Robert Newell being well qualified for the purpose, 
being- acquainted with the Indian character and a firm Hud- 
son's Bay man. could rule the interpreters as he pleased, and to 
cap the whole with the pointed sheaf, there must be two inter- 
preters and they of the doctor's profession, indeed one of them 
his own wife's son and the other being his servant. 

In the only engagement which took place after the arrival 
of McKay's company, one of these was sent for by the com- 
missioners, who were in advance of the main body, and asked to 
interpret for them, to speak with one of the enemy who had 
come up to talk and draw the attention of the main force in 
front while the Indians were flanking us on right and left. The 
commissioners asked what this Indian wanted. The inter- 
preter replied that the Indians said they did not want to fight 
but wished to be friends. (At this same time the Indians were 
advancing in the shape of a half moon and in numbers suffi- 
cient to encompass our lines.) The commissioners again said 
that the interpreter desired for no firing, that the Indians were 
friendly. Orders were given accordingly by the commissioners 
not to fire. Thus stood the Americans, while the interpreter 
continued to talk with the Indians until they were entirely 
flanked and the Indians closed the entire circle of our lines. 
As soon as the decoy had galloped out of our reach he fired 
the signal gun for the attack. Now it was too late to do any- 
thing without breaking and facing from the center outwards, 
which was done, and the Indians retreated, not until they had 
surrounded some eight or nine of our men and, as they had 
taken ravines on either side of us and come up within gun- 
shot, they had the advantage of being covered from us by the 
banks of the ravines, until forced from them by a charge when 
they fled and being mounted on fleet horses they easily got 
out of our reach. Thus was our first engagement with the 
Cayuses, while these friends of the doctor were managers. 
After arriving at Wayalatpu,-- these same commissioners and 
interpreters kept us 8 days waiting within twenty-five miles 
of the Indians while they treated and talked with other tribes 
who were camped with the Cayuses and had daily intercourse ; 
and yet the murderers of our friends within twenty-five miles, 
their numbers not exceeding ours and they having to take care 
of some twenty thousand head of horses and cattle — while be- 
fore us lay bleaching the bones of Whitman, wife, family and 
many of other Americans who had shared the same fate and yet, 
the commissioners must hold the hands of those who had come 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 241 

to avenge the blood of the innocent, and they in one short day's 
march. Thus the H. B. Co. held the cords of vengeance for 
the purpose of letting these murderers have time to run off 
their stock, women and children, and these alone knew our 
horses were not fleet enough to overtake them. After the 
ninth day had passed and they had ample time to clear with 
the stock and families, the commissioners proclaimed a treaty 
with the Nez Perce tribe and started home satisfied. The troop 
rallied and on marching to where they had camped during the 
8 days while they drove off their stock, but behold they had 
departed and without any hope of overtaking them. In fol- 
lowing them to Snake river about sixty miles found they had 
crossed and left the side of the river we occupied in charge 
of a few Indians who professed friendship. They, as 
always had been the case when any of the Indians fell into 
our hands, professed friendship and through the interpreter 
they made the shift to get away and afterwards we could hear 
of these same being our most inveterate enemies. With but 
little success ended the campaign of '47 and '48 with the Cay- 
uses, but not with the Hudson's Bay Company and the Jesuits, 
not that I intend to make a crusade against them or any other 
denomination, but as the Doctor, the Scotch-English-Ameri- 
can, has called them to his aid, I just intend to speak of none 
who had kept hands off in the struggle between Americans and 
English, or Hudson's Bay interest in Oregon, but if they will 
put themselves in the way they must hear what an American 
Oregonian has to say in the cause of the free-born American 
principles. Shortly after the return of the commissioners from 
the Cayuse country, one of the Jesuit priests went to the Fort 
Vancouver and bought several boxes of guns and two thou- 
sand pounds of lead and one thousand pounds of powder and 
shipped them secretly, as they thought, up the Columbia in the 
direction of the Cayuse country, but our boatmen, being more 
honest than they suspected, instead of landing them as directed 
two miles below the fort at The Dalles, or Wascopum, where 
the priest had built a new station, carried the arms and ammuni- 
tion to the fort at Wascopum; there gave information to the 
officers of the fort who immediately seized them. It then ap- 
peared that the priests before described had continued to 
occupy the stations made among the Indians, notwithstanding 
the governor had ordered them not to remain among the 
Indians. The Doctor in the Free Press, a newspaper, published 
in Oregon City, informed the people that the ammunition 
was intended for the Flatheads and not the Cayuses, but it is 

242 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

certain it had to pass the country inhabited by the Cayuses who 
at this time were scarce of this useful ingredient of war and 
blood shed and how easy to capture it and supply themselves 
with more ammunition than could be procured by the Ameri- 
cans during the whole war without impressment and then have 
a protest entered in writing. This same thing was done during 
the before-named war by the before-named Hudson's Bay 
Company as can be proven by Major Lee who acted as officer 
of impressment, when at the same time this company claimed 
to be American in feeling and intend to become citizens of a 
country against whom they would enter a protest. They even 
went so far at Vancouver as to erect bastions and mount bat- 
teries (see Douglas' letter to Governor Abernathy in Vol 2, 
No. 26, Oregon Spectator) to prevent impressment of goods, 
etc., as it was expected to be needful to supply the army and 
still they hang on for donations of land in preference to these 
who bared their own arm and exposed themselves to face the 
ruthless massacre ! caused by whom ? Not by Americans, but 
rumor pretty well backed by facts that it was those who had 
always made it appear that the Americans came here to rob 
the Indians of their lands and kill them. The American trap- 
pers can answer this question. Up to the present the moneyed 
power in Oregon has been in the hands of the Hudson's Bay 
Company. None can tell but them who have seen the influence 
brought to bear can form the slightest idea of its bearing. 
Not a merchant dared put his head into Oregon without the 
expectation of losing everything, unless he fell into the track 
marked out by the Company ; not an officer dared act inde- 
pendent in his course, but he had all the opposition could be 
thrown in his way (and men cannot live on the wind and could 
buy but little until latterly of any but the company and when 
he was disposed to act independent he could buy nothing he 
wanted from them). And no mechanic could get the raw 
material from them to carry on their trade and nothing was 
brought by anyone else to supply them. As if they had con- 
sulted their wishes, none of our merchants brought anything 
like woolen goods — all had to be bought of them, when they 
pleased to sell them, but in no case could a man buy anything 
which was not kept by other merchants if they knew the man 
to be of American principle. Everything has been written and 
said to kill the country in a commercial view with American 
merchants and as if by magic almost all the American mer- 
chants, as well as our government officers, have fallen into 
the train and such a description of the trade and navigation, 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 243 

etc., as cannot best astonish those disconnected with them ; and 
future generations will laugh at the idea of our people at 
home being so easily humbugged and we submit to this so 
tamely. Just now to think that a country capable of sustain- 
ing comfortably without even removing a stick of timber except 
for roads and fencing, etc., at least four millions of people west 
of the Blue Mountains, and then not one-fifth of the land suit- 
able for cultivation by clearing, spoken of ; and having a river 
affording at the lowest water three fathoms water for one 
hundred and twenty miles into this and no more pretty streams 
to navigate, thence spreading east, north and south in streams 
navigable for small vessels for hundreds of miles into various 
sections of these fertile plains — an entrance from the Pacific 
with five fathoms water at any tide and three quarters of a 
mile of beating channel in any port ; as good water power in 
almost all sections of the country as the world can boast of ; 
a climate so mild that grass grows green and abundant during 
the whole year ; a country where stock of every description 
flourish well, healthy and salubrious of climate ; soil growing 
any of the grasses ; growing wheat more prolific than any of 
the states ; and yet the Hudson's Bay Company would have it 
this country is worthless and no trade can be carried on to 
any extent. I will ask if any country on the globe can, with 
only our small population, load in and out more vessels than 
we, even at a more advanced age, being now only six years 
since the first emigrants came here in 1843. Thirty-one cargoes 
of produce and lumber have left Oregon by American traders 
within twelve months, and four or five by the Hudson's Bay 
Company, and yet there is ready for shipment perhaps one- 
fourth as many more for which vessels have not been possible 
to be obtained to keep down the supply, and still the word "no 
trade from Oregon worth attention" sounds in my ears. We 
do indeed see some sign that the doctor's people being not dis- 
posed to believe his assertions for lately the Barque Morning 
Star of Havre (the same that brought in the priests and nuns 
of 1847) bringing several priests, and gives the intelligence 
that six more emigrant vessels all consigned to the doctor for 
the Catholic mission, bringing 400 emigrants, and one hundred 
and fifty priests and nuns. (Well we will have priests and 
women. Who are these ? Are they those Humbolt prophesied 
of two years ago, or are they a new stock for Hudson's Bay 
Company, independent?) I will now refer you to what moves 
have been made during the last year and what the bent of 
Hudson's Bayism is now taking. During the last year up to 

244 LovvNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

the arrival of Governor Lane on the 1st of March last they had 
continued to work their usual games of trying- to get the Cath- 
olic Church in supremacy. This I do not object so much to, for 
I am always glad to see the churches keep pace with each other 
and thereby one keep the other in check, but whenever one 
gets the ascendency it then becomes dangerous to itself and the 
government and. in short, to religious as well as civil liberty. 
This makes perhaps the influence of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany at this time able to yet struggle with free principles and 
trade and they mutually will assist each other by degrees to 
overturn our government if permitted to receive the help of the 
United States in their designs. If they obtain what they aim 
for at present to receive every privilege of native born citizens 
and at the same time go so far as to enter a protest, as to a for- 
eign nation, to impressment where necessary, and to arm and 
mount forts with cannon avowedly to prevent the government 
from taking what they had a just right to have taken from them. 
As public supplies when they professed to be part and parcel 
of this government, and then share lands with us and take the 
first choice themselves — it is preposterous. Hear what Peter S. 
Ogden says about the influence the Hudson's Bay Company 
has over the Indians among whom they planted the priests 
previous to Whitman's murder, when speaking of the purchase 
of the prisoners from the Indians, but as I have before said 
this has too often been manifest when among the Indians their 
property was safe and they (the Indians), well, all tell you 
that the Hudson's Bay Company had always told them that the 
Bostons came to steal their lands and horses and kill them 
and have always encouraged their robbery of the Americans, 
buying what they took from the Americans and thus encour- 
aged them to do so again, for the sake of the price of what 
they took. But hear what he says about the purchase of the 
prisoners — "But the mead of praise is not due to me alone. 
I was only a mere acting agent of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
for, without its pozverful aid and influence, nothing could have 
been effected, and to them the praise is due." (See Oregon 
Spectator, Vol. 3, No. 1.) It sickens my very heart when 
I think of the weak condition of Oregon at the time of the 
declaration of war with the Cayuses and yet they, after having 
encouraged all the continued robberies and finally these mur- 
ders, eleven in number, and they with their powerful influence 
used for what? — for safety for Oregonian Americans? No! 
But to pull us down and give them a chance of a final grasp 
of this territory. But to continue our history at the proclama- 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 245 

tion of Governor Lane: As usual and with their effrontery 
everything that could be done in paying attention to him and 
the other publick officers was done, every stratagem to interest 
him in his course of action as governor in a manner to suit 
their views among the rest the asking leave to permit the priest 
who had been detected in taking powder and lead to the 
Indians, petitioned him to permit him to take and carry the 
same to the Indians. This much he granted them, but how 
much farther I know not, but I rather think that his as well as 
the rest of the publick officers might have sense enough to see 
that Doctor McLaughlin and those he can ride are not the 
majority of the people of Oregon. The prospect at present 
shows their representatives elected to serve them intend to 
report matters as they are to the mother country and if their 
aim (the pubHck officers) is to come here to speculate on the 
trade of Oregon instead of administering the laws, that they 
(the people's representatives) will permit them so to do, but 
they (the representatives) will not take the trouble to ask 
Doctor Mc — to give them a copy for their reports, and yet 
we have some who think this lumber business should be kept 
out of the hands of our officers. "No odds zvhere they got the 
money," and others say "Judges and collectors buying claims 
of land might meet a claimant on the bench and in the custom 
house;" others again say "If I was collector and had only to 
make my return once and a while I should not feel fearful to 
undertake the paying $15,000 dollars for a half of one and to 
spend twice as much in building steam saw-mills particularly 
when in six months the duties collected would pay the whole." 
But then, people will talk, and a man may be a 'man for a' that'." 
After the Hudson's Bay Company found the officers expected 
they would be looked to and not them they thought their only 
chance was to render it impossible for us to send a man as 
delegate to Congress in whom we could confide and if we did 
they would dog and harrass such an one as they have ever done 
who would not carry their opinions foremost and particularly 
if he carried any documents with him bearing on the settle- 
ment of matters against them; in some of these cases of 
previous occurrence shows how well they have carried out their 
plans, for in the year '45 when Doctor White was known (by 
Hudson's Bay Company or Doctor Mc— ) to have papers 
from the legislature favorable to the American side of the 
question he was assailed on the way and his papers demanded. 
(I do not say whether he was safely clear of the same influ- 
ence himself, but he gave them not up.) But this was the 

246 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

course taken by their managers. They blustered and fright- 
ened some ; others they persuaded ; and others perhaps bribed — 
I cannot say ; but this much I do know that the same body that 
sent dispatches by him also ordered his acts as illegal and not 
warranted, and sent these latter documents on as a rebutter 
against all his papers proposed. Another man was advised to 
go tO' Washington by the governor to represent to the Congress 
the situation of matters in 1847, but when it was found he was 
expected to lay some grave things before Congress "such a 
sputter as would have astonished the natives," and nothing 
could be satisfactorily passed through the legislature against 
him ; the only plan was now to frighten him ; or in the failure 
to do this to bribe him into the service of the H. B. C. The 
former failed and the latter must now be tried, but horrible, 
the bait was not swallowed. He had been offered a bribe by 
the H. B. Co. agent to give it as his legal decision that H, B. 
Co. should be entitled by treaty to more than the American 
minister would allow. This H. B. Co. man was a Mr. Sanders 
and by his maneuvers no doubt things were kept unsettled for a 
time ; and now if they shall let the present delegate go without 
attempting to render all his influence powerless or to set on foot 
anything that would get things fairly understood ( for we fear 
nothing at the hands of justice as our enlightened Congress 
will act free of the H. B. Co. influence). I say I shall 
be surprised and almost thunderstruck. But this cannot 
be, for Hugh Burns and various other foreigners and Jesuits 
were figuring larg'ely during the election and since the election 
they thought at one time that they had in a manner suc- 
ceeded by getting themselves into notice by placing the name 
of our upright and worthy citizen, Judge Lancaster, who was 
then in California, before the publick as a candidate for dele- 
gate — unknown to him and without his consent, as favorable 
to that party. This they did, not that they wished to elect 
him, but this knowledge of his upright character and splendid 
talents, if taken up by the Americans, would warrant the idea 
of his being elected ; and if so they would be defeated in their 
favorite scheme of getting in one of tried faith to the Doctor's 
cause, and as the case now stood Lancaster being from home 
and none of the Americans had no vouchers for his leaving 
California not even if elected whether he would accept, they 
knew this would make strong opposition to being served as 
Burnett had in his judgeship in California and leave us without 
a delegate. 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 247 

To explain the matter more fully I will just give the journal 
of the Doctor's, not as published by him but as related by one 
present and the after acts proved he gave the matters pretty 
fair. Met the Doctor, his Highness the Bishop, his Honor 
Douglas, his thickness Peter Skeen Ogden, his Laqueys Switz- 
ler and Burns, with a few others too tedious to mention. The 
Doctor presiding with general consent and without a division, 
thus commenced the proceedings : 

Doctor: "Mr. Burns shut that door — we — we don't want 
— don't want people to hear what we talk about." 

Burns : "The door is shut, Doctor, and by the Lord Jasus 
if the first bloody American shows his pate in rache, ile make 
him think it was Patrick Obrine had struck him." 

Doct. : "Now, now, gentlemen, I have — have thot best to 
ask — to ask what it is best to do — to do — about this election — 
this election. We have some grave questions to be settled with 
this prating American government and also with bloody 
Hooshers in Oregon, and I should like to hear — to hear what 
you all will recommend." 

Douglas : "We have but little to settle with the American 
government except what few definitions are necessary to be 
made to the treaty and there is but little hope of our getting a 
delegate from Oregon at present. Our people are leaving us 
every day and of them that can be made to take the oath of in- 
tention are not enough to elect Meek, and no other man ought 
to be sent by us for he has nothing to lose as an American 
and all to gain by serving us but at present I do not see how 
he is to be elected. I think however, that our agent, Mr. San- 
ders, will succeed in smoothing some one's conscience, whose 
opinion will be taken by the American Government, and we 
shall have a fair decision. That flare-up of Thornton's however 
may make it necessary to get hold of some other person beside 
Sanders for he will be watched by these cunning Americans." 

Doctor : " 'Twont do — 'twont do. Must have some body 
as delegate from here — must have somebody to see our claims 
independent of the treaty — independent of the treaty — and that 
must be attended to by the next session or we won't have a 
foot of land but what the treaty gives us. These grants have 
to come through Congress and these Democrats can't be hum- 
bugged as easy as one or two individuals." 

Ogden : "I think the doctor is right but then the company 
has great influence and our agents will be busy enough to 
have considerable bearing on these things among our Amer- 

248 LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 

Douglas :"I see the doctor is right and in our situation at 
present requires us to have an advocate there who could be 
managed by our agents, and Meek is the only man who is out 
as a candidate who could be managed. But how to have him 
elected is the mistery." 

Doctor: "Let's see — let's see — Bishop, how many people 
have we that can be made to take the oath of intention? This 
gives them privilege to vote if they never mature this intention." 

Bishop : "How many sir ? I can safely say, sir, all, but stop ! 
Part of them will leave for California, and — well I will just 
count my diocese. In Champoeg country there will be after 
striking of one-third who will likely go to California, leaving 
one hundred and five voters. From Vancouver and Nisqually 
inclusive seventy-three and at the falls of Willamette thirty- 
seven and I think twelve that are scattered through other coun- 
ties, making in all 227 votes and with what influence these 
can have on those who are unsuspecting I think for our people 
who may count 250 and I must say they must support the man 
who we know to be our friend." 

Doctor: "That will do— that'l dc^that'l do — this— this 
with what Mr. Ogden, he being an American and Mr. Douglas 
being a Church of England man can get will make our number 
pretty powerful and you know I have lead by the nose many 
of these boasted Democrats whenever I wanted their help." 

Douglas : "Yes, your ideas are good but it will require a 
good deal of management. They now have their officers here 
and the course that should be taken more effectually, secure 
the help of those who they can influence is to get into their good 
graces as much as possible and endeavor to impress on them the 
necessity of electing Meek and then make an assault on the 
American strength by splitting their votes on various candi- 
dates. This will weaken them and give us a chance for 

Doctor : "Very good plan — very good plan — very good 
plan, Mr. Douglas, and in addition to what you have said 
take care to salute the governor from these batteries we built 
about the commencement of the Cay use war to fight of the 
American's Colonel — that hotheaded colonel we handled so well 
at Waiilatpu when he would have been onto the Indians so 
snugly if we hadn't had our good friend Bob Newell and the 
interpreters there to hold him back. We will now use these 
batteries on their new governor's vanity and perhaps do as 
much good in this way as they did on Governor Abernathy's 
peace feelings during the war with the Cayuses." 

LowNSDALE Letter to Thurston 249 

(Rap-rap-rap at the door.) 

"Mr. Burns, see who that is that has any business with me 
at this time of night." 

(Mr. Burns goes to the hall door and returns.) 

Burns : "It is Mr. Newell. Shall I tell him to come in ?" 

Doctor: "Yes, yes." 

(Enter Robert Newell, in familiar manner.) 

Doctor: "Well, well, I'm astonished! But I've often heard 
it said 'speak of the devil and his imps will appear.' I was 
just speaking about you. What news?" 

Newell: "Nothing of much importance, except I want to 
see the Governor and if possible get him to go with me up 
the Columbia. Some of our Indians are down and say the 
Americans are up there buying horses and horses have become 
scarce and I want a few before the troops come on to speculate 
on out of Mr. Quartermaster before it is too late." 

Doctor : "Capital ! capital ! Just what I want — good opera- 
tion. Well, Robert, I will go with you in the morning to see 
the Governor and persuade him he ought to see the Indians 
and if he is not made of better democracy than Wilkes 

(Note — From the above abrupt ending it is evident that a 
part of the manuscript is missing.) 

REGION. 1839-1840 


Mr. E. Willard Smith was an architect and civil engineer. 
He was born at Albany, N. Y., in 1814, and died at Washing- 
ton, D. C. He married Miss Charlotte Lansing, of Lansing, 
Mich. This interesting account of his expedition to the Rocky 
Mountain region was copied from a manuscript belonging to 
his daughter Margaret, who married Edwin Forest Norveil, 
son of Senator John Norveil of Michigan, and was obtained 
through the courtesy of her daughter, Mrs. E. Oliver Belt, 
of Washington, D. C. 


Barrycrest, Spokane. 


The journal printed below throws new light on the fur 
trading situation in the Rocky Mountains in its waning stages. 
It touches on the human, or possibly better designated in- 
human, rather than on the economic aspects of the operations 
of those engaged in the business. Specifically it is a realistic 
account of the incidents experienced on one of the later ex- 
peditions setting out from St. Louis to the Rocky Mountain 
posts and rendezvous. Some eleven months were used in 
making the trip out and back, from early August, 1839, to 
July 3, 1840. 

The expedition was probably capitalized by one of the most 
distinguished of the Rocky Mountain fur traders, William L. 
Sublette. He was one of the young men in the employ of 
William H. Ashley when the Rocky Mountain Fur Company 
was organized in 1822. Among those who began their careers 
with Sublette were Jedediah S. Smith, David E. Jackson, Rob- 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 251 

ert Campbell, James Bridger and Thomas Fitzpatrick. William 
L. and his brother, Milton G. soon rose to prominence and 
took charge of independent enterprises. William's partner in 
this undertaking was Vasquez, who seems to have been more 
active in personally conducting- the expedition which Sublette 
had probably the larger share in fitting out. 

Their post was located on the upper South Fork of the 
Platte. Its site was about fifty miles north of that of the pres- 
ent city of Denver. 

In the immediate neighborhood there were three other fur 
trading forts. Lupton's was above and St. Vrain's and the 
other were below. All were within a day's journey of Long's 

Colonel H. M. Chittenden seems to have had no data at 
hand bearing upon the operations in this vicinity, while writing 
his "American Fur Trade in the Far West." He is aware only 
of the bare fact of the existence of these posts. 

The expedition which E. Willard Smith, the author of this 
journal, accompanied had probably proceeded up the Missouri 
River from St. Louis by boat to Independence. From that 
point it set out equipped, as the journal describes, following the 
Santa Fe Trail for some four hundred miles to the ford of the 
Arkansas, the Cimarron crossing; thence its route was along 
the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail, on the north bank 
of the Arkansas, to Bent's Fort. They of the Sublette and 
Vasquez party overtake and pass Lupton's company of a char- 
acter similar to their own and having a destination separated 
only four or five miles from theirs. But Lupton's oxen were 
not as fleet as Vasquez's mules. 

Bent's Fort marked a turning point in their course. They 
had traveled westward some 530 miles from Independence. 
A ten days' march northward was still ahead of them to reach 
their fort on the South Fork. Bent's Fort which they were 
passing was so situated as to be in touch both with the Santa 
Fe trade and with that of the mountains. Chittenden speaks 
of this post as "the great cross roads station of the South- 
west. The north and south route between the Platte River 

252 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

country and Santa Fe, and the east and west route up the 
Arkansas and into the mountains, found this their most natural 
trading point." 

Bent and St. Vrain, the firm owning Bent's Fort and St. 
Vrain's to the north, is mentioned by Chittenden as the chief 
competitor of the American Fur Company at this time. But 
of Vasquez and Sublette's operations his sources seem to have 
afforded him no information as he is certain only of the mere 
fact of the existence of their fort. 

Turning now to the contents of the journal, we are givon 
a very clear picture of the face of the country traversed on this 
northward stretch and of the Indians encountered and game 
found. After tarrying only three days near the middle of 
September at the Vasquez and Sublette fort the expedition 
was on its way westward across the Rocky Mountains. Its 
route crossed the Cache a la Poudre and the upper North Fork 
of the Platte and traversed the new or North Park of the 
northwestern portion of the present state of Colorado and the 
northeastern corner of Utah. The pass used is some two 
hundred miles southeast of South Pass. 

The ultimate destination of the expedition and proposed 
winter quarters was Brown's Hole. This is an amphitheater- 
shaped basin where the Green River emerges from the Wind 
River Mountains. The "Snake River" mentioned is a small 
tributary of the Green. 

The narrative indicates that horse-stealing by both renegade 
whites and by the Sioux Indians, and the retaliations, developed 
a veritable reign of terror in the early winter of 1839-40 in this 
Rocky Mountain fastness. At any rate the fear of attempted 
retaliation by the whole force of the Sioux nation caused a 
change of plans and the Vasquez-Sublette party instead of re- 
maining at Brown's Hole all winter essayed a mid-winter return 
across the mountains to its fort on the South Fork of the 
Platte. After all but two of their horses had perished and 
they had been compelled to scaffold their collection of beaver 
skins, they reached the upper North Fork of the Platte, still 
one hundred and fifty miles from the shelter of their fort and a 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 253 

new outfit of horses. From this encampment Smith and two 
companions venture to penetrate the wintry wiFderness ahead 
to secure from the fort the necessary horses with which to 
convey the party and its collection of furs to the fort. In- 
superable difficulties of travel and signs of proximity of large 
bands of Indians ahead of them bring dismay. They return 
to the encampment and a more successful venture is made by 
their leading trader, Biggs. Resupplied with horses, and their 
packs of beaver brought up, they were on their way to the 
South Fork about the middle of April. From their fort the 
trip to St. Louis was made in a "Mackinaw" boat. 

There are interesting references to the I. R. Walker, who 
as assistant to Captain Bonneville had in 1833 penetrated from 
the Great Salt Lake to California. Smith mentions him as 
commissioned to guide another party to California. It is said of 
him that he "requested the epitaph on his tombstone record 
the fact that he discovered the Yosemite wonderland." 

There are also interesting references to the natural won- 
ders that have since been included in the Yellowstone National 


August 6th, 1839. Left Independence. The party at start- 
ing consisted of thirty-two persons under the command of 
Messrs. Vasquez and Sublette. There were four wagons loaded 
with goods, to be used in the Indian trade, drawn by six mules 
each. The drivers accompanied the wagons, the rest of the 
party riding on mules. These men were French, American, 
Spanish and half breeds. 

After leaving the boundary line of Missouri State we lost 
all traces of civilization. The soil appeared to be very fertile 
for about one hundred miles, being well watered by streams 
running south into the Arkansas. On the banks of these streams 
were many dense groves, while the intervening country con- 
sisted of prairies. The grove on the last stream we met with 
was called Council Grove, one hundred miles from the state 

254 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

line, which place we reached on the 15th of August. It had 
formerly been a favorite place for the Indian council fires. 

On the night of the 15th we had a very severe rain, which 
was a pleasant introduction to a life on the prairies. Our food 
consisted of bacon and bread baked in a frying pan. The two 
gentlemen who had command of the party were old Indian 
traders, having followed this mode of life for more than ten 
years, there were also with us Mr. Thompson who had a trading 
post on the western side of the mountains, and two half breeds 
employed as hunters. One of them was a son of Captain 
Clarke, the great Western traveler and companion of Lewis. 
He had received an education in Europe during seven years. 

16th August. Today we saw several antelopes. 

17th August. We came in sight of the Arkansas River, 
quite a large stream about two hundred yards wide. The banks 
were low and sandy, with a few scattered trees. We con- 
tinued to travel along its banks for several days at a short 
distance from the stream. There were a large species of spider 
whose bite was mortal. We had several moonlight nights to 
cheer the guard, 

21st. Some of the party killed two antelope, an old and a 
young one, which were prepared for dinner. We found them 
not very palatable, but still acceptable after having lived so long 
on bacon alone, our stock of flour being exhausted some days 
previous. The meat resembles venison somewhat, though 
not equal to it in flavor. This animal is smaller than the com- 
mon deer, which it very much resembles in color and quality 
of hair, but its horns are diflferent, being smaller and less 
branching. It is very fleet, even more so than a deer, and 
requires a very swift horse to overtake it. Their great watch- 
fulness renders it difficult to approach them. 

On this same day we saw seven buffaloes as we were pre- 
paring dinner. The sight of them quite enlivened the party, 
who were most of them strangers to a life in the prairies. Mr. 
Sublette gave chase to one of them, being mounted on a horse 
trained for the purpose, and fired several times without effect. 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 255 

22nd. At noon we saw a large herd of two or three hundred 
buffalo cows. Some of the hunters gave chase, but returned 
unsuccessful. Several of them were thrown from their horses, 
and severely injured, as they were riding over a village of 
prairie dogs, the horses' feet sinking into the holes. We 
suffered much today from want of water. Saw also the first 
village of prairie dogs, which was quite a curiosity. One 
of the dogs was killed and eaten. They look somewhat like 
a squirrel, being nearly the same size. Sometimes the same 
hole is occupied by an owl, rattlesnake and prairie dog. Today 
the grass begins to be short, and there is little dew. Before the 
dew has been so heavy as to wet us thoroughly during the 
night. No buffalo meat today. At evening two of the party 
went out to hunt and shot a bull, being much pleased with 
their success. They thought they heard the Indians whoop, 
but it was nothing more than the howling of wolves. Bulls at 
this season are poor and unfit to eat. They are therefore rarely 
killed when cows are to be obtained. 

August 23rd. Today all the hunters started after buffalo, 
and we anxiously awaited their return. Took breakfast this 
morning at day break, somewhat out of the usual course. We 
generally arose at break of day, traveled till ten or eleven, then 
encamped and cooked our breakfast. We then continued our 
journey till within an hour of sunset, when we encamped 
for the night, prepared our supper and picketed the horses. 
This is done by tying a rope, eighteen or twenty feet long, to a 
horse's neck, and attaching to it a stake driven into the ground, 
which allows them to feed, without permitting them to wander 
off. We stand guard by turns at night, each one being on 
duty three hours. After the night arrangements were made 
we spread our blankets and courted sleep which speedily came 
alter the fatigues of the day. The canopy of heaven was our 
only covering. There was a severe storm during the night. 

At noon of the 23rd the hunters returned with meat, havin>^ 
killed three cows. All turned cooks, and ate voraciously of the 
first buffalo meat we had tasted. I think with most others who 
have eaten it, that it is preferable to any other meat. We saw 

256 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

several thousand buffalo today, two or three herds containing 
about three hundred. All feel in good spirits although the water 
is extremely bad, indeed we have had good water but twice 
since we started. Towards evening we passed a great number 
of buffaloes, the prairie being actually alive with them. They 
extended probably about four miles, and numbered nearly 
two hundred thousand. We were amazed with a scene so 
new to us, so strange to one accustomed to cities and civilization. 

24th. Today we saw nearly as many buffaloes as yesterday. 
So many are not generally met at this season so far East. We 
are now about three hundred miles from Independence. We 
had grown weary with the monotony of traveling till we met 
buffalo, but the excitement of hunting soon revived us. 

26th. We have met with nothing very interesting today, 
but have seen a great many buffaloes, and at evening en- 
camped on the banks of the Arkansas. The river here is pretty 
wide, but not more than two or three feet deep. We shall now 
continue to travel along the Arkansas for ten or twelve days. 
The river here is the boundary between Mexico and Missouri 

26th. A pleasant day, but the evenings are becoming cool. 
We are not as much troubled with mosquitoes as for several 
nights previously. This has been a long day's journey. We 
now live on buffalo meat altogether, which requires very little 
salt. Our party now consists of thirty-six persons, having 
been joined by four on the sixteenth. 

27th. Another pleasant day. We are getting along rapidly, 
traveling about twenty-five miles a day. Our hunters go out 
again today for meat. There are two ways of hunting buffaloes. 
One called approaching, the other running. When a hunter 
approaches he puts on a white blanket coat and a white cap, 
so as to resemble a white wolf as much as possible, and crawls 
on his hands and knees towards the buffalo, until he gets within 
one hundred and fifty yards, then sinks his knife in the ground, 
lies prostrate, rests his gun on his knife, and fires at the animal. 
It generally requires more than one shot to kill a buffalo, even 
if he should be shot through the heart. The way of hunting 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 257 

by running is on horseback. The man mounts a fleet horse 
trained for the purpose, rides full speed toward the herd, and 
fires a light fowling- piece, which he carries in one hand, while 
he guides the horse with the other. The moment the hunter 
fires his piece, the horse springs out of the reach of the buffalo 
to escape injury from the infuriated animal. This is the most 
exciting method of hunting, but it is attended with consider- 
able danger, the horse being liable to stumble over the rough 
ground. The Indians prefer this mode of hunting, substi- 
tuting the bow and arrow for the gun. This weapon they use 
with such dexterity as to shoot an arrow entirely through the 
animal, piercing the ground on the opposite side. It is very 
difficult for a bullet, at the regular shooting distance to pass 
through the body. We saw ten antelopes today. Every night 
we have a grand concert of wolves, relieved occasionally by the 
bellowing of buffalo bulls. 

During the last week we passed several places where men 
belonging to former parties had been killed by the Indians. The 
other day we passed a place where Mr. Vasquez had a narrow 
escape. He and one of his men started for his fort in advance 
of the party. The man being taken sick, he left him on an 
island in the Arkansas. He then went back for medicine, hav- 
ing to travel a day and a half. While returning he was chased 
by a party of Indians on foot, who overtook him while he 
stopped to drink, and were at his side before he could mount 
his horse. He presented the muzzle of his gun, and the Indians 
stepped back, allowing him time to mount his horse, which 
taking fright, ran away with him. The Indians gave up the 
pursuit. They were a party of Pawnees, The part of the road 
we are now traveling runs through the general war ground 
of the different tribes of Indians. 

28th. Nothing very remarkable today. The weather still 
continues pleasant. 

29th. Nothing interesting today. Buffalo have been very 
scarce for several days. The hunters went out this afternoon 
and could get nothing but antelope meat, which afforded us a 
good meal as we were hungry. 

258 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

30th. We still travel as usual. We had been expecting to 
overtake Mr. Lupton every day. He is a mountain trader, on 
his way to the trading post on the river Platte. We overtook 
him today about noon. His party had stopped to eat dinner 
and allow their animals to feed. He had six wagons drawn by 
oxen. They had started about twelve days before us. He 
mistook us for Indians as we approached, and was somewhat 
alarmed. We saw three deer today on an island, one of them 
a buck was very large. 

31st. This is the last day of August and of summer. We 
saw six elk today, one of them being an old one, was quite 
large. Mr. Lupton encamped with us today as well as last 
night. He is trying to keep in company with us, but probably 
will not succeed, as our mules can travel much faster than his 
oxen. We had a buffalo hunt today. Our men killed one. Mr. 
Lupton's men another. It is a fine sight to see them running 
a large herd. This is Saturday. It is difficult to mark the 
Sabbath as there are no church bells to remind us of it. 

September 1st. Today we came in sight of what is called 
Big Timber, sixty miles from Bent's Fort on the Arkansas. 
We had no fresh buffalo meat today, and there are no buffalo 
to be seen. 

2nd. Today we left Big Timber at noon. The prairie here 
is more rolling and sandy than we have seen it before. We 
had a view of the mountains this afternoon, but they are still 
one hundred and fifty miles distant. We are enabled to see 
this great distance on account of the clearness of the atmos- 
phere. There is no dew at night, the atmosphere being very 
dry and clear. The weather is very warm. No fresh meat 
today. Buffalo is very scarce. 

3rd. Today we passed Bent's Fort which looks quite like 
a military fortification. It is constructed of mud bricks after 
the Spanish fashion, and is quite durable. Mr, Bent had sev- 
enty horses stolen from the fort this summer by a party of the 
Comanchee Indians, nine in number. There was a party of 
these Indians, consisting of three thousand lodges, a few miles 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 259 

4th. Today we passed a Spanish fort about two miles from 
Bent's. It is also built of mud, and inhabited by a few Spanish 
and French. They procure flour from Towse [Taos], a town 
in Mexico, eight days' travel from this place. They raise a 
small quantity of corn for their own use. We still continue 
along the Arkansas River. Last night we saw the northern 
lights very plainly. Three of our party have now left to go 
in advance to the fort on the Platte. 

5th. Today we came in sight of Pike's Peak, which can be 
seen at a very great distance. It has snow on its summit at 
present. We have had no fresh meat today. The soil along 
the river is very sandy. We still continue on its banks. The 
ground here is covered with prickly pears. There is a shrub 
growing here called grease zvood. It is peculiar to this country. 
The Indians use it for making arrows. It is very heavy and 
stiff, and burns quickly. There is also here a plant called 
Spanish soap plant. The Mexicans use the root as a substitute 
for soap. We have been obliged to eat bacon today as the 
stock of buffalo meat is exhausted. 

6th. Today our hunters killed two buck deer. They tasted 
very well. We still keep approaching the mountains, which 
have a very fine appearance. The Peak is very high, it was dis- 
covered by General Pike when in company with Major Long 
on his expedition to the mountains. Pike and his party were 
taken prisoners at this mountain by the Mexicans. One of his 
companions was kept four years in prison. 

7th. We have been going uphill all day and have reached 
some high ground, which gives us a splendid view of the plain 
below. We can see at least eighty miles in either direction 
except where the mountains bound our view at the distance of 
forty miles. We ate our dinner beside a stream called Fontaine 
qui bouille, boiling spring, called so on account of the manner 
in which it boils from the mountains. We found a great quan- 
tity of wild plums on the banks of this stream and saw signs 
of grizzly bears in this vicinhy. This is a famous resort in 
the winter for the Arapahoos and Shian Indians. The traders 
have houses here for trading with them in the winter. 

260 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

8tli. Today we saw a few scattering buffaloes, we had not 
seen any in some time, and, with the exception of a Httle ven- 
ison, had been living on bacon. Towards evening the hunters 
came in with some bull's meat, which made our supper, although 
rather unpalatable. We had a very severe storm of wind and 
rain last night. The wind is always strong on these plains, 
like a gale at sea. It is almost impossible to travel here in 

9th. Today we met several large herds of buffalo, and tb.e 
hunters succeeded in getting some good meat, which was quite 
an agreeable change. We all ate voraciously. It would astoni->h 
the inhabitants of the city to drop in upon us at some of our 
meals, after we had been on short allowance for two or three 
days. It is incredible what a large quantity of buffalo meat a 
man can eat without injury. 

10th. Today and yesterday we passed through some strips 
of pine timber, the first I have seen in this part of the country. 
It is quite a relief after seeing nothing but cottonwood along 
the prairie streams. As we were about encamping for the 
night we saw some Indians, who proved to be Arapahoos. One 
of them immediately galloped off to their village, as their large 
encampments are called which was about five miles distant, 
and informed the others that we were in the vicinity. At dusk 
twenty-two, most of them chiefs, came out to see us. They 
were all fine looking fellows, rather lighter colored than our 
Eastern Indians. Two or three squaws accompanied them, 
pretty good looking. The chiefs seated themselves around the 
fire, forming a ring with Mr. Vasquez, and commenced smok- 
ing their long pipes, which they passed around several times, 
every one smoking out of the same pipe. They were all well 
acquainted with Mr. Vasquez, and remained with him two or 
three hours. Before leaving we presented them with some 
tobacco and knives. Among their number was one Shian and 
one Blackfoot. 

11th. Nothing new today. We expect to reach the fort 
soon. We are still eating bull's meat. 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 261 

12th. Living nearly the same as yesterday and traveling 
pretty fast. Almost out of provisions. In the evening we 
arrived at the Platte river and encamped. 

13th. Today about four o'clock we passed Mr. Lupton's 
Fort. A little after five we reached the fort of Messrs. Sub- 
lette and Vasquez, the place of our destination. Our arrival 
caused considerable stir among the inmates. A great many 
free trappers are here at present. The fort is quite a nice 
place, situated on the South Fork of the River Platte. It is 
built of adohies, or Spanish bricks, made of clay baked in the 
sun. This is the Mexican plan of building houses, and, as 
the atmosphere is very dry, and there is little rain, the buildings 
are quite durable. This fort is opposite Long's Peak, and 
about twenty miles distant. We slept all night at the fort 
and supped on some very good meat. This is the first time I 
have slept under cover for thirty-seven days. 

14th. Today I moved my quarters to Mr. Thompson's camp, 
a mile and a half from the fort, and shall remain with him 
till we start to cross the mountains, which will be in a few days. 
There are a few lodges of the Shian Indians near us. We have 
smoked with and embraced two today. 

15th. We are still at the camp. Nothing remarkable has 
happened. The men at the fort have been carousing, etc., hav- 
ing got drunk on alcohol. There are about twelve lodges of 
Shians encamped at the fort who have been trading with the 
whites. They had a scalp dance in the fort today, dancing by 
the music of an instrument resembling the tambourine. They 
were armed with short bows, about three feet long. 

16th. Today we left our encampment, and started to cross 
the mountains. Our party consisted of eight men, two squaws 
and three children. One of the squaws belonged to Mr. 
Thompson, the other to Mr. Craig. They are partners, and 
have a trading fort at Brown's Hole, a valley on the west of 
the mountains. 

17th. One of our mules was nearly drowned today in cross- 
ing the stream, a branch of the River Platte. It was with great 

262 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

difficulty that he was extricated from his perilous situation. 
The middle of the day is quite warm now, but the mornings 
and the evenings are cool. 

18th. We encamped last night on a small stream cache la 
Poudre, called so because powder was hidden there some time 
since. Our camp was just at the foot of the mountain, in a 
very pleasant place. During the day we passed several pools 
and creeks, the water of which were impregnated with salt- 

19th. Today we began to travel among the hills at the foot 
of the mountains. The change is very pleasant after the prairies 
in hot weather. One soon becomes tired of traveling over a 
prairie, all is so monotonous. The road we are traveling now 
is surrounded by hills piled on hills, with mountains in the back- 
ground. The water in all the small streams is very good and 

20th. Today the road became more rough. We had some 
very high and steep hills to climb. One would scarcely think 
from their appearance that a horse could ascend them, but we 
crossed without any great difficulty. Messrs. Thompson and 
Craig went before us and killed three buffaloes. Before this 
we had plenty of fat venison. In the afternoon they killed three 
deer. At night it was quite cold and frosty. 

21st. Today it is quite cold. We have been climbing more 
hills. At noon the hunters came tO' us, having killed six buf- 
faloes and a calf. We saw a great many buffalo today. We 
are encamped in a beautiful valley. It is probably more than 
sixty miles long, as far as the eye can reach. The view from 
the surrounding mountains is grand. The valley is surrounded 
by high hills, with mountains in the back ground. Large herds 
of buffalo are scattered over it. There is a large stream flow- 
ing through it, called Laramie's Fork, tributary to the North 
Fork of the Platte. It has several small streams flowing into 
it. The timber on all these hills and mountains is yellow pine, 
some of it being quite large. In this plain there is a very large 
rock, composed of red sandstone and resembling a chimney. 
It is situated on a fork of the Laramie called Chimney Fork. 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 263 

22nd. Nothing remarkable today except beautiful scenery. 
We travel more than twenty miles a day. The weather is very 
pleasant, quite warm at noon while it freezes hard at night. 

23d. This morning the road was very rough. At noon we 
entered a very large valley, called the Park, at the entrance of 
which we crossed the North Fork of the River Platte, a very 
fine stream. We saw a great number of buffalo today, prob- 
ably about two thousand. 

24th. Today we are still traveling in the park and surround- 
ed by herds of buffalo. The weather is still pleasant and we 
have moonlight nights. It is so cold at night that the water 
freezes. A beaver was caught this morning in a trap set last 
night by one of the party. 

25th. Today we have had a very rough road to travel 
over, and at evening encamped on a ridge called The Divide. 
It divides the water of the Atlantic from the Pacific, and ex- 
tends a great distance north and south. On the west side of 
it are the head waters of the Columbia and the Colorado of 
the West, the former emptying into the Pacific, and the latter 
into the Gulf of California. On the east side are the head 
waters of the Missouri and its tributaries, and also the Ar- 
kansas. We had a slight shower in the evening. We have 
seen no buffalo today. 

26th. Today we have traveled only fifteen miles. The 
scenery is very rough. We saw only a few bulls and no cows. 
Nearly all the hills and valleys, since we came among the moun- 
tains, are covered with wild sage or wormwood, which grows 
in stiff bushes, seven or eight feet high. The stalks are as large 
as a man's arm. There are a great many black currants among 
the mountains, also plums and sarvis [service] and hawthorn 

27th. Today we have traveled about twenty miles. The 
weather still continues very pleasant. At evening just before 
we encamped for the night we passed a place where the Whites 
had encamped a few days previous, for the purpose of killing 
buffalo and drying the meat. From the signs around us, we 
thought they must have had a fight with the Indians, prob- 

264 Journal of E. Willakd Smith 

ably Sioux. We saw the skeletons of four horses killed in 
the fight. The Whites had thrown up a breastwork of log's 
for a defence. Tonight we put our horses in an old horse- 
pen we found at our camping place, which is on Snake River, 
a tributary of the Colorado of the West. 

28th. Today we had a good road and got along well. We 
are still on Snake River. No buffalo have been seen, but the 
hunters killed an elk out of a herd of about twelve. The meat 
resembles venison very much in taste, though not quite so 

29th. Today we left Snake River and about noon found 
Indian signs. We supposed there must have been about forty 
Indians, probably a war party of Sioux, that had passed but 
two or three hours previous to our coming. If they had seen 
us we must have had a fight. 

30th. Yesterday afternoon my horse gave out and I was 
obliged to lead him three miles. The day was quite warm and 
we suffered very much from want of water. We encamped 
at some sulphur springs. The hunters shot an old buffalo. 
Today I was obliged to walk and let my horse run loose. I 
was afraid that he would be unable to travel all day, even in 
this way. My boots were torn to pieces and I could procure 
no moccasins. I traveled forty miles in this way over a very 
rough road, covered with prickly pears. My feet were very 
much blistered. The day was very warm. After traveling 
forty miles without water I lost sight of the party who were 
in advance of me. As it was growing dark and my feet pained 
me very much, I concluded tO' stop for the night and encamp 
by myself on a stream called the Vermilion that we had just 
reached. I did so and remained there all night alone. I 
have never suffered so much from thirst as I did this day. 

October 1st. I left my lonely camp early and walked rapid- 
ly over the gravel and prickly pears that lay in my path, not 
expecting to see my companions until I arrived at Brown's 
Hole, but after traveling two miles I discovered them encamped 
by a small lake in a valley. My pleasure can be easily imagined. 
They were just eating breakfast of which I partook with de- 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 265 

light, having eaten nothing the day before. At evening we 
arrived at Brown's Hole, our place of destination. This is a 
valley on Green River in which is a fort. 

October 2nd. Today I heard from Kit Carson the partic- 
ulars of the fight at the breastworks at Snake River, referred to 
a few days since. It appears that the party was composed 
of seven whites and two squaws who had come there from 
Brown's Hole for the purpose of killing buffalo and drying 
the meat. They had been there several days and had dried a 
large quantity of meat when they were attackd by a party of 
Sioux, about twenty in number. The attack was made toward 
morning while it was yet dark. The Indians fired principally 
at one man, named Spillers, as he lay asleep outside of the 
horse-pen, and they pierced him with five balls without wound- 
ing anyone else. This awakened the rest of the men, and they 
began to strengthen a horse-pen they had made of logs, to 
form it into a breastwork. They digged some holes in the 
ground for the men to stand in, so as to protect them as much 
as possible. As soon as it became light, they commenced 
firing at the Indians, of whom they killed and wounded sev- 
eral. After exchanging several shots the principal Indian chief 
rode up toward them and made offers of peace. One of the 
white men went out, and induced him with several others to 
come toward them, when they were within shooting distance, 
he fell back behind some trees, and gave the signal to his 
companions, who fired and killed the head chief. The Indians 
kept up a firing for a short time and then retreated. When 
the chief was shot he jumped up and fell down, the others were 
very much excited, and raved and tore around. He was a dis- 
tinguished chief. 

October 3rd. Still at the fort which is situated in a small 
valley surrounded by mountains, on Green River, a tributary 
of the Colorado. This is quite a stream, about three hundred 
yards wide. It runs through a narrow passage or canyon in 
the mountains, the rocks forming a perpendicular wall on each 
side five hundred feet high. 

266 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

October 6th. We had a snow storm today. It fell about 
six inches deep. I had intended to go to Fort Hall, a fort 
belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, situated at the head 
waters of the Columbia, but the party disappointed me. 

10th. I have been at the fort since my first arrival, nothing 
of importance has occurred. The weather is still very pleasant. 
Today we started for a buffalo hunt, to make dried meat. There 
were about thirty in the party, about half of them being squaws, 
wives of the white trappers. We had sixty horses with us. We 
were ten days in reaching the bufifalo herds, although we met 
a few scattered animals the second day. We made our first 
camp for drying meat on Snake River, at the mouth of a creek 
called Muddy. We had stormy weather for several days, and 
after remaining at this encampment for three days, we moved 
farther down the river where we remained several days. Dur- 
ing the whole time we were out we killed one hundred bufifalo 
and dried their meat. Some of the party had also killed six 
grizzly bears quite near the camp. The hunters gave me one 
of the skins of a beautiful grizzly brown color, and some of 
the meat very much like pork. 

November 1st. We arrived at the fort the first of Novem- 
ber, and remained there until the eighth. On the evening of 
the first there were one hundred and fifty head of horses stolen 
from the vicinity of the fort by a party of Sioux, as we after- 
wards learned. This was very unexpected as the trappers and 
Snake Indians had been in the habit of letting their horses 
run loose in this vicinity, unattended by a guard, as the place 
was unknown to any of the hostile Indians. This event caused 
considerable commotion at the fort, and they determined to 
fit out a war party to go in search of the stolen horses, but 
next morning this project was abandoned. A party of twelve 
men went over to Fort Hall, belonging to the Hudson's Bay 
Company, and stole several horses from that company, not- 
withstanding they had been very well treated by the man who 
had charge of the fort. On their return they stopped at a 
small encampment of Snake Indians, consisting of three lodges. 
One of them belonged to a very old man who invited them to 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 267 

eat with him and treated them with great hospitahty. At eve- 
ning the whites proceeded on their journey taking with them 
all the old Indian's horses. On returning to Green River, the 
trappers remaining at the fort expressed their displeasure so 
strongly at this act of unparalleled meanness that they were 
obliged to leave the party and go to a trading post of the Eutaw 
Indians. The whites in the valley, fearing that the Snake 
Indians might retaliate upon them for the loss of their horses 
pursued the thieves and compelled them to restore the stolen 

8th. We moved up the river a short distance to a log cabin, 
built by some young men, who had come to the mountains last 
spring, intending to remain there until the following spring. 

December 17th. There are here now, and have been for 
some time, about twenty lodges of Indians of the Snake tribe. 
They call themselves Shoshonies. We obtained a few skins 
from them in exchange for trinkets. They are very good look- 
ing Indians. The men are generally tall and slightly made, 
the women short and stout. There is a large salt lake in 
the mountains about four days travel from Brown's Hole. This 
lake is a hundred miles long from north to south and thirty 
miles wide. There are islands in the midst of it which have 
never been explored. These islands have high hills and are 
well wooded. The water of the lake is very strongly im- 
pregnated with salt. Salt of the best quality is found crys- 
talized along the shores in great abundance. There are several 
fresh water streams running into this lake, one of which is 
Great Bear River. The surrounding country is rocky and 
gravelly, and there is considerable timber around the lake. 
There is also a salt creek near it, the water of which is very 
similar, where the Indians find beautiful salt. There are a 
great many salt springs in this vicinity. 

Near the headwaters of the Missouri is a valley filled with 
mounds, emitting smoke and vapor, the ground composing 
this valley is very soft, so much so that a horse will sink to 
his girths in the ground. 

268 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

On the west side of the mountains, are streams that seem to 
ebb and flow Hke the tide. In the mornings their banks are 
overflowing, at noon they are perfectly dry, the next morning 
flowing again. 

The country around the headwaters of the Yellowstone, a 
tributary of the Missouri, abounds in natural curiosities. There 
are volcanoes, volcanic productions and carbonated springs. 
Mr. Vasquez told me that he went to the top of one of these 
volcanoes, the crater of which was filled with pure water, 
forming quite a large lake. 

There is a story told by an Arapahoo chief of a petrified 
bufifalo standing in the lake on the east side of the mountains. 
It was in a perfect state of preservation, and they worship it 
as a great medicine or charm. There are also moccasin and 
buffalo tracks in the solid rock along the shore of the lake. 
Nothing would induce this Indian to tell where this sacred 
buffalo is to be found. Great presents were offered to him 
in vain. 

There is a party, going in boats from this valley in the spring 
down Grand River, on the Colorado of the West, to California. 
They will be led by Mr. Walker who was with Bonneville in the 
mountains. They intend trapping for beaver on the way. 

The weather in this valley is extremely pleasant this winter, 
with scarcely any snow. It is as warm in the middle of the 
day as in June in New York, the latitude of the place is sup- 
posed to be forty-two degrees. 

We intended to spend the winter in the valley of Brown's 
Hole, but soon had reason to fear an attack from the Sioux. 
The party before mentioned, who had lost their chief in an 
encounter with some whites, had returned to their principal 
tribe and intended coming in numbers to attack us in the 

We therefore thought it unsafe to remain until then, but 
were fearful of crossing the mountains during the winter, a 
thing never before attempted. But some men arrived at our 
encampment from the fort on the South Fork and assured us 
that there was no snow in the mountain passes. Then we con- 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 269 

eluded to leave the valley immediately, and to re-cross the moun- 
tains, preferring- the probability of the danger thus before us to 
the almost certain contest with the Indians. 

We left the valley of Brown's Hole on the twenty-fourth of 
January, 1840, to return to the trading post on the South Fork 
of the Platte. The weather when we started, as for some time 
previous, was warm and pleasant. Our party consisted of 
twenty persons, fourteen men, four squaws, wives of the trap- 
pers, and two children. There were two traders in the com- 
pany, one, Mr. Biggs, who was a trader for Sublette and 
Vasques, the other, Mr. Baker, a trader for Bent and St. 
Varian [St. Vrain]. There were also three free trappers. The 
others were men hired to the two traders. 

On the 26th of January we met a party of Eutaw Indians 
who had been out hunting buffalo. These Indians are the best 
marksmen in the mountains, and are armed with good rifles. 

On the 27th of January we arrived at Snake River and re- 
mained there four days. While there the snow fell two feet 
deep. We had three Indian lodges with us, in which we slept 
at night. 

On the 2nd of February we encamped at a creek called 
Muddy. We found considerable difficulty in traveling through 
the snow during the day. Our hunters killed some buffalo 
today and provided us with fresh meat. 

On the 4th the snow became very deep, and in a few days 
we found ourselves surrounded by snow six feet deep, and no 
buffalo to be seen, our stock of provisions was nearly ex- 

On the 17th of February we encamped on a high hill, and 
one of the horses gave out, being unable to carry the load any 
farther. Here we encountered one of the most severe storms 
I ever witnessed. Considerable snow fell, and the wind blew 
for two nights and a day. During the night one of the lodges 
blew down, and its occupants were obliged to remove to one 
of the others to prevent being frozen. We started with thirty- 
nine horses and mules, all in good order. Some of them were 
now dying daily for want of food and water. We traveled 

270 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

but three or four miles a day, on account of the depth of snow. 
By this time many of us were on foot and were obHged to go 
before and break the way for the horses. 

Our provisions were being exhausted, we were obliged to 
eat the horses as they died. In this way we lived fifteen days, 
eating a few dogs in the meantime. In a few days we were all 
on foot. We suffered greatly from want of wood. There was 
no timber to be seen on our route. We were obliged to burn 
a shrub called sage, a species of wormwood, which one could 
only obtain in quantities sufficient to keep up a fire for an hour 
in the evening. We obtained no water except by melting 

During this time we had some very severe storms of wind 
and snow. Often one or two of the lodges were thrown down 
in the night. We were now obliged to make a scaffold of 
some trees which we found, and leave our beaver skins on it, 
with all the furs we had collected. It was made sufficiently 
high to prevent the bears from reaching it. We were unable 
to carry them farther, as so few horses remained. All had died 
except two, and they were so weak as to be almost unable to 
drag the tents. 

On the 23rd our hunters killed a buffalo which was very 
poor, the meat, however, was very pleasant to us, after having 
lived so long on poor horse meat. 

On the 24th the hunters killed three fat buffalo, which was the 
first fat meat we had seen for twenty days. All ate a large 
quantity of the raw tallow, having been rendered voracious 
by our wretched food and near approach to starvation. On the 
afternoon of this day we encamped on the North Fork of the 
River Platte, which here runs through a small valley sur- 
rounded by mountains. At this place there was scarcely any 
snow to be seen, and the weather is quite warm. We were 
still one hundred and fifty miles from the trading fort. This 
valley was filled with herds of buffalo. 

After remaining here four days, three of us started on the 
29th of February to go to the fort for horses. We traveled 
until noon the first day without finding any snow. In the 

Journal of E. Willaru Smith 271 

afternoon we met prett}^ deep snow, and towards night it was 
two feet deep, covered with a very hard crust. We found it very 
difficult traveling, but went, notwithstanding, fifteen miles that 
day. About dark we stopped on the summit of a hill which 
was bare, the wind having blown the snow off. At this place 
we could find nothing with which to build a fire to warm our- 
selves. We were very wet, having traveled through the snow 
all day. We were obliged to lie down on the bare ground, with 
only a blanket apiece to cover us, and were unable to sleep 
from the severe cold. Next morning we started by daylight- 
and found the snow deeper than the day before, the crust 
was hard but not sufficiently so to bear one, which made walk- 
ing very fatiguing. Notwithstanding the difficulty we traveled 
fifteen miles that day. At sundown we came in sight of a 
stream, the banks of which were covered with timber. We 
hoped to spend a comfortable night beside a large fire but were 
again disappointed. Before we had proceeded many steps we 
saw Indian tracks in the snow, which could have been made 
but a few hours previous. We judged from the number of 
these tracks that there must have been a large party of Indians. 

One of my companions had traveled this same route before 
with two others, and at this same place had been attacked by a 
large party of Sioux. One of his companions was killed, while 
the others were robbed of everything and obliged to walk a 
hundred and fifty miles to reach a trading post. 

My companions being both afraid to proceed, we were 
obliged to return to our party on the North Fork of the Platte. 
We concluded to return that same night, although very much 
fatigued. We were near what was called Medicine Bow Butte, 
which takes its name from a stream running at its base, called 
Medicine Bow Creek. We traveled all night and stopped just 
as daylight was appearing, made a fire and rested half an hour. 
The next night we found ourselves quite near the encampment 
on the Platte. 

Our party was very much disappointed to see us return. 
Four days afterwards Mr. Biggs and a half breed started for 
the fort by another route, where there was very little snow, and 

272 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

no danger of meeting Indians. They took a horse with them to 
carry their blankets and provisions. 

In the meantime the party on the Platte were hunting daily, 
and supplied themselves abundantly with provisions. 

After waiting thirty days for the return of Mr. Biggs with 
horses, we began to be fearful that he had been murdered by 
the Indians, but on the forty-second day from the time of his 
starting, just as we had given up all hope of seeing him, he 
and Mr. Vasquez arrived, bringing with them horses sufficient 
to carry the furs, but not enough to furnish saddle-horses for 
all the party, consequently some were obliged to walk. They 
also brought some men with them, increasing our number to 

Mr. Biggs immediately started to return for the beaver that 
had been left some distance back, and was absent five days. 

When Mr. Biggs started for the fort in search of horses 
we built a fort of logs on the Platte to protect us from Indians. 
We now left this fort on the 14th of April on our way to the fort 
on the South Fork. 

On the 16th we ate dinner at the Medicine Bow Creek, and 
on the 19th arrived at Laramie Fork, a tributary of the Platte. 
At the junction of this stream with the North Fork of the 
River Platte the American Fur Company have a large trading 
fort, called Fort Laramie. We saw a great many buffalo 
every day as we passed along. 

On the 22nd we met a small party of Arapahoo Indians 
coming to visit their friends the Shoshonies, or Snake Indians. 

On the 24th of April, in the afternoon, we crossed the South 
Fork of the Platte with considerable difficulty, as the water 
was very high. After traveling six miles we arrived at the 
Fort of Sublette and Vasquez. We remained at the fort 
nearly two days. 

April 26th we started in a mackinaw boat, which had been 
made at the fort at the foot of the mountains. This boat was 
thirty-six feet long and eight feet wide. We had seven hun- 
dred buffalo robes on board and four hundred buffalo tongues. 
There were seven of us in company. The water of this river, 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 273 

the South Fork of the Platte, was very shallow and we pro- 
ceeded with difficulty, getting on sand bars every few minutes. 
We were obliged to wade and push the boat along most of 
the way for about three hundred miles, which we were forty- 
nine days traveling. We had to unload the boat several times 
a day when it was aground, which was very hard work. 

May 8th. We saw the body of a Shoshonie squaw which 
had been placed on a scaffold in the top of a large tree on the 
bank of the river. This is the usual manner of disposing of 
the dead among these Indians. 

On the 9th, 10th and 11th the wind blew violently, accom- 
panied with heavy rain. We were unable to proceed. On the 
eleventh three Shian Indians came to us. They belonged to a 
party which had been out catching wild horses. They had suc- 
ceeded in taking two hundred. One hundred of them had died 
in a very severe storm a few days previous. The method adopt- 
ed by the Indians for catching them is as follows : An Indian 
mounts a fleet horse, having a rope twenty feet long, with a 
noose at the end, fastened to his saddle. He rides close to 
the animal he wishes to catch, and throws the noose, or lasso, 
over its head. The horse finding the noose over his head, 
jumps, which chokes him and causes him to stop. As we 
found no buffalo, we had eaten all of the four hundred tongues 
we had brought. 

On the 12th we killed the first buffalo we had seen since we 
left the fort. 

On the 13th we arrived at the camp of the Shian Indians, 
the party mentioned before. They consisted of twenty-five 
men and boys and one squaw. They were headed by a chief 
called the Yellow Wolf. His brother was of the party having 
a name which signified in the Indian language Many Crows. 
We gave them some spirits, in exchange for a little meat, on 
which they became very much intoxicated. 

On the 14th and for many days after we saw a great many 
dead buffalo calves strewed along the banks of the river. They 
were about a week old and must have been killed by some dis- 

274 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

ease raging among them, as the wolves would not touch them, 
although here in great numbers. There were probably two 
thousands of these calves. 

On the 18th it stormed all day and night. Toward evening 
we saw about three hundred wild horses, who came quite 
near us. We have seen several large herds of buffalo for 
several days past. 

June 12th. We arrived at the fork of the Platte. The water 
in the North Fork of the Platte was pretty high, and we were 
able to proceed quite rapidly. We sometimes traveled fifty 
miles a day. The main Platte is very wide, and has many 
islands in it, which were covered with roses as we passed them. 
In one place this river is four miles wide. One of its islands 
is one hundred miles long. The country from the forks of the 
Platte to the Missouri is claimed principally by the Pawnee 

June 14th. We met five buffalo, the last we saw, as we left 
the country in which they range. 

18th. In the morning we arrived at a Pawnee village. It 
consists of a hundred and fifty lodges, made of poles covered 
with mud. Each lodge contains three or four families. This 
village is situated on the south bank of the river. These In- 
dians raise excellent corn. The squaws perform all the labor 
in the fields. We gave them some dried meat in exchange for 
corn. This was the first vegetable food we had eaten in eleven 

19th. We were obliged to lay by on account of a violent 
wind. At night we were much annoyed by mosquitoes. 

20th. We passed the Loup Fork and also Shell Creek. 

21st. We passed Horse Creek, a large stream coming in 
from the north, also Saline, a large stream from the south. 
The scenery here is very different from that farther up the 
river. The banks of the Platte from the foot of the mountains 
to this place have been low and sandy, with scarcely any trees 
on the banks, but here the river has bluff banks thickly covered 
with timber. There is a village of Pawnees, called the Pawnee 
Loups, on the Loup Fork. The Pawnees have their heads 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 275 

shaved closely, with the exception of the scalping tuft in the 
middle, which gives them a very savage appearance. The river 
below the Loup Fork is much narrower than above. We are 
now in the country of the Otoe Indians. 

On the evening of the 21st we arrived at a missionary sta- 
tion, about fifteen miles from the mouth of the River Platte. 
There are about twenty Otoe lodges near the missionary station. 
These lodges are built of mud, in the same manner as the Paw- 
nees. We went up to the missionary houses, expecting to find 
some whites, and were much disappointed at finding them 
deserted, the missionaries having removed to another place. 

June 22nd. This morning we arrived at the mouth of the 
river Platte. The Missouri, where we entered it, is rather 
narrow. This is about eleven hundred miles from St. Louis. 
In the afternoon we stopped at a log house on the bank of 
the river. Here we saw the first whites who had gladdened 
our eyes since leaving the mountains. They were at first afraid 
of us. At this place was a small encampment of Pottawattamie 
Indians. They had been drunk a few days before, and several 
were killed in a fight. This is the part of the country to which 
they had been removed. The banks of the Missouri here are 
quite hilly. Some of the shores are composed of limestone. 

23rd. In the evening we arrived at a settlement, where we 
procured some fresh meat, bread and coffee. This place was in 
the Iowa country and we saw several Indians of that tribe. 

24th. We stopped at another settlement in the State of 
Missouri, in Buchanan county. On the south side of the river 
is Missouri Territory, and on the north the state of Missouri. 
We saw some Sacks and Fox Indians today. We now traveled 
rapidly, sometimes eighty miles a day. 

July 3rd. We arrived at St. Louis, having come two thou- 
sand miles from the mountains in sixty-nine days. 

When traveling down the River Platte in our mackinaw 
boat, as before stated, we often ran aground on sand bars, 
and were obliged to unload the boat to lighten, push it off the 
bar, and then reload. This occurred several times in the course 
of each day, and of course kept us wading in the water most 

276 Journal of E. Willard Smith 

of the time. We seldom found it more than waist deep. One 
afternoon we tied up our boat about four o'clock, as was our 
custom, to hunt buffaloes, as we were in want of provisions. 
This would give us time to kill, and get the meat to the boat 
before dark. It was usual for one of the party to remain with 
the boat while the rest went to hunt. This afternoon it was 
my turn to remain, which I accordingly did, and the rest of 
the party went off about three miles from the boat in search 
of game. This was rather a dangerous practice, as we were 
in the Pawnee country, and very much exposed. The day was 
quite pleasant with a strong breeze, and I was lounging on 
the piles of furs in the boat, with my coat off. Alongside 
of me lay a fine buffalo robe, that was damp, exposed to the 
sun to dry. The wind blew it off into the river. I jumped off 
the boat into the stream, ran down some distance so as to get 
beyond the floating robe, which was rapidly going down the 
stream, and jumped into the river, which I supposed was not 
more than waist deep, but very much to my surprise, I found 
the water over my head. This was an awkward predicament, 
for I could not swim, but my presence of mind did not for- 
sake me, I knew sufficient of the theory of swimming to keep 
perfectly still, conscious that if I did so, I would float, and 
the result proved that I was right. As I before stated, the 
current was quite swift, and I was carried down stream rapidly. 
Finding that I floated, I paddled with my hands, keeping them 
under water, and found that I could swim quite readily, 
I paddled out toward the robe, and secured it with some diffi- 
culty, as it had become partly soaked with water and was 
quite heavy. At last I succeeded in dragging it on shore, and 
crawled out of the water well saturated, and feeling most 
grateful for my deliverance. It was rather a lonely adventure, 
as all my companions were several miles distant. On their 
return they congratulated me on my narrow escape. 

As we were coming down the River Platte, and had nearly 
gotten out of the range of buffaloes, which they frequent, it 
occurred to me that, as I had not yet killed any, I should try 
what I could do. On my journey out across the plains, I had 

Journal of E. Willard Smith 277 

broken my rifle, and had substituted a fusee, or short gun, 
from which we fire balls. This was a very rude specimen of 
fire arm, and of very litle use for hunting, but useful in case 
of an attack from Indians. 

This afternoon we had, as usual, tied up our boat and the 
hunter, Mr. Shabenare, went out a short distance from the river 
bank to shoot a buffalo for his meat. At the time there were 
several large buffalo bulls near us. After kiUing one we 
assisted the hunters in butchering it, and in carrying portions 
of the meat to the boat. It was at this time that I concluded 
to try my luck, so taking up my gun, which was loaded, and 
slinging my powder horn and pouch on my shoulder, I start- 
ed off toward the range of low hills running parallel to the 
shore and about a quarter of a mile distant. Several bulls 
were grazing quietly at the foot of these hills. I intended to 
walk up stealthily to within five hundred yards of one of 
the largest and then crawl up to within one hundred and 
twenty yards of him before I fired. For unless you approach 
as near as that to them your ball takes no effect. I had reached 
to within five hundred yards of him when he noticed me and 
becoming alarmed started off up the hill on a run. It was a 
damper on my prospects, for they run quite fast, generally as 
fast as a horse can trot, but as he had to run up hill, I thought 
I would give chase, and I accordingly did so, and after running 
a short time I found that I gained upon him and felt quite 

After running him about a mile and a half I came to a 
valley where I found several buffaloes grazing. The bull I 
was chasing finding these buffaloes quietly grazing, stopped 
also and began to eat grass. Finding him so quiet I also 
stopped to rest for a minute. I examined my gun and found 
the priming all right. I then approached cautiously to within 
fifty feet of him, which I could not have done if he had not 
been very tired from the long chase up hill. I then kneeled 
down and resting my ramrod upon the ground to support the 
gun took deliberate aim at his heart and fired. He jumped 

278 Journal of E, Willard Smith 

at me with great ferocity, but I sprang on one side and 
avoided him. The ball had evidently taken effect. 

I loaded the second time and approached somewhat nearer, 
to within about forty feet of him and took deliberate aim in 
the same manner and fired. The second ball also took effect 
and seemed to weaken him. He jumped at me again with the 
same ferocity, and I avoided him in the same way. After 
loading my piece the third time I found that my powder was 
exhausted and that this must be my last shot. 

I approached to within the same distance and took aim and 
fired in the same manner as before. Again he jumped at 
me ferociously and then laid down panting and apparently in 
great pain. Having no powder my gun was now useless. I 
did not like the idea of losing my game after all the trouble 
I had had with him, I therefore determined to try my knife, 
which was a butcher knife six inches long, I crawled up 
cautiously toward his hind legs and attempted to cut his ham- 
strings with my knife thereby disabling him so that I could 
stab him. I had no sooner cut through the thick skin of his 
leg when smarting with pain the infuriated animal arose and 
plunged at me and would probably have killed me if it had not 
been for the miraculous arrival of our bull dog Turk. I had 
left him at the boat asleep, but finding that I had gone he 
followed me and arrived at the spot just in time to take the 
bull by the nose and prevent his injuring me. I now despaired 
of being able to secure my game. I took my powder horn 
and shook it in desperation and succeeded in obtaining enough 
powder from it for half a charge, with this I loaded my gun, 
using grass for wadding around my bullet instead of patches, 
as these as well as my stock of powder had become exhausted. 
The bull was now lying down with his head erect, and panting 
violently. I walked up to him, and putting the muzzle of my 
gun to his mouth, I fired down his throat. This was too much 
for him and he rolled over in his last struggle. I jumped upon 
him and stabbed him several times in the heart. 

It had now grown dark. A large circle of white wolves 
had formed around and were yelling in a most hideous 

Journal of E, Willard Smith 279 

manner, old Turk keeping them at bay. I cut out the tongue 
of the bull, and part of his meat and prepared to return to 
the boat, but on looking about I was at a loss which way to 
go, in the confusion and excitement I had forgotten from 
which direction I had come. I chose my direction and after 
a walk of about twenty minutes came to the river, much to 
my relief. I was again at a loss which way to go to find the 
boat, but finally walked down the stream, and in half an hour 
reached the boat, at which I was very much rejoiced. My 
companions had become very much alarmed at my absence, 
but knew not where I had gone. We were in the Pawnee 
country and I was liable to meet some of them at any time 
and I was without ammunition or any means of defending 
myself. Old Turk after fighting the wolves off until he could 
eat some of the bull, returned, and was ever after considered 
the Lion of the party. Thus ended my first and my last 
buffalo hunt. 


Editorial Not.s by T. C. Elliott 

This Quarterly printed in Vol. XIII., No. 4 the first install- 
ment of the journal of John Work, a trader of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, covering his trapping- expedition to the Snake 
Country in the year 1830-31, with an editor's introduction; 
the second and final installment is now presented. The original 
of the first part of this journal was found in London but 
curiously enough this latter half comes from quite another 
source, namely from the family papers of the late William 
Fraser Tolmie of Victoria, B. C. ; Dr. Tolmie married one 
of the daughters of John Work. No opportunity has been 
afforded for the writer of these notes to compare his copy 
with the original but some few apparent errors, chiefly in 
proper names, cannot affect its general reliability. 

We left Mr. Work with his large party of trappers and their 
families on the 18th of March, 1831, at the Portneuf river in 
Southern Idaho, probably not far east of the present city of 
Pocatello; we now resume our acquaintance with him April 
21st, a month later, on the upper waters of the Bannock river, 
south of the Portneuf. After very successful trapping here he 
follows down Snake river past American Falls to Raft river 
(Mr. Work designates this stream both as Raft and as Roche- 
Rock-river, but evidently it was the former), and ascending 
that river to one of its sources he crosses the divide to the 
plain at the north end of Great Salt Lake. He was then not 
far from Kelton, Utah, a place which held prominence for a 
time after the completion of the Central Pacific Railway as 
the eastern terminus of the stage lines from Walla Walla, 
which was one of the regular lines of travel for people going 
East from Oregon and Washington. This stage line crosses 
the Snake river below Salmon Falls. 

Mr. Work then proceeds westward across the divide to the 
waters of the Humboldt river (called by him Ogden's river) 

Journal of John Work 281 

and for more than a month is upon the waters of the Humboldt 
flowing west and south and of the Bruneau and Owyhee 
flowing north, in northern Nevada. Late in June he turns 
north across Eastern Oregon by way of Malheur lake, Silvies 
river and the John Day river to his starting point at Fort 
Nez Perce at the mouth of the Walla Walla river. But little 
attempt will be made at long range to trace the itinerary 
closely. On this his first expedition into this region Mr. Work 
followed closely the track of his worthy predecessor, Peter 
Skene Ogden, in 1828-29, whose journals published in volumes 
X and XI of this Quarterly are now the more intelligible. 

Thursday, April 21st, 1831. 

Stormy, raw, cold weather. 

Moved camp, and marched 10 miles S. E. up the river.^ 
The river here is a narrow deep stream with steep clayey 
banks which have some willows growing upon them, and 
appear well adapted for beaver, a good many marks of which 
are to be seen. This little stream is not known ever to have 
been hunted by whites. Just above our last encampment it 
spreads into a kind of swamp which was probably taken by 
the hunters to be its source. The valley through which the 
river runs here is pretty wide, and seems to have been but a 
very short time free of snow, the mountains on each side of 
it have still a considerable depth upon them, and banks of it 
remain in sundry places along the shores of the river. The 
valley seems to produce little else but wormwood. There is 
a little coarse, dry grass in some points along the river. Owing 
to the unusual lateness of the spring the young grass is barely 
beginning to shoot up so that our horses, lean as they are, 
can gather very little to eat, which is much against them and 
also retards our progress as it is out of power to make such 
day's journeys as we would wish. Some of the people went 
in pursuit of buffalo but with little success. Nearly all the 
people set their traps, only two beaver were taken. Two of 
the men, A. Findlay and A. Hoole, who went after buffalo 

I Bannock river. 

282 Journal of John Work 

towards the mountains discovered a party of 14 Blackfoot with 
8 or 10 horses. The Indians immediately fled, and the men 
fooHshly pursued them some distance before they returned to 
the camp. On their arrival a party immediately went in 
pursuit of them but could not overtake them. They had got 
across the mountain notwithstanding the depth of the snow. 
F. Payette and 4 or 5 of the half breeds ascended the mountains 
after them but it was too late to continue the pursuit and they 
returned. A mare and colt which they left in their hurry 
was brought to the camp. There were the tracks of some 
women and children with the party. It is conjectured that 
the horses were stolen from the Snakes and that the women 
and children were also of that nation and made slaves of by the 
Blackfeet. They threw away several cords in their haste. A. 
Letender, who was up the river setting his traps, saw three 
Blackfeet with a horse, they immediately went off. P. Brinn 
and L. Kanottan saw and pursued another party of 5 men, 
two of them in their haste to escape them threw away their 
robes and cords. It is to be regretted that the two men who 
saw the party with the horses did not come to apprise us at 
the camp immediately and the whole party with their horses 
would probably have been taken. 

Friday, April 22nd. 

Cloudy, cold weather, some heavy rain and sleet in the 
night and fore part of the day. 

Did not move camp. The people visited their traps and set 
some more. Twenty-five beaver and one otter were taken. 
There is the appearance of a good many beaver, 

Saturday, April 23rd. 

Stormy, cold weather. 

Moved camp 5 miles farther up the river in order to find 
some feeding for the horses, and even here the grass is very 
indifferent and scarcely any of it. Though there are few buffalo 
to be seen now they have been very numerous here a short time 
ago and eat up the most of what little grass was. The men 

Journal of John Work 283 

visited their traps and took 33 beaver. The river here divides 
into two forks and falls in from the other rivers and the Costen 
from the south. The former is that which the Indians rep- 
resented to be richest in beaver. We are mortified to find 
that as far as the men proceeded up it it is choked up with 
snow except in small spots here and there, and the valleys 
through which it runs, though of considerable extent, still 
covered with snow to a considerable depth in places 3 to 4 
feet deep and farther up probably much deeper. The men 
who went farther up the south branch 15 and 20 miles suppose 
they have reached its head, a kind of swamp ; here though the 
valley is larger than in the other branch yet the snow lies 
equally deep, and farther on through a fine valley appears still 
deep. The wormwood is covered with the snow. In this 
state of the snow we can neither trap these little rivers in the 
mountains nor attempt to cross the mountains without the 
risk of losing some of our horses from the depth of snow and 
want of food. The only step we can take now is to abandon 
this road and seek another pass more practicable. It would 
take too much time to wait till the snow melts. Thus are the 
prospects of the little hunt which we expected to make of 
600 or 700 beaver in this quarter blasted. The unprecedented 
lateness of the spring is greatly against our operations. The 
oldest hands even in the severest winters never witnessed the 
season so late. The men saw some bufifalo on the verge of 
the snow, probably they had been driven there by the Blackfeet 
Indians whom we found here. The people killed some of the 
bufifalo but they were so lean that they were scarcely eatable. 
Three of the men drew a herd of bulls into a bank of snow 
yesterday and killed 16 of them. 

Sunday, April 24th. 

Frost in the morning, clear, cold weather for the season 
during the day. 

The men visited their traps, 14 beaver were taken. The 
water is rising, which is against the trappers. Two of the 
men saw 6 Blackfeet Indians high up the river yesterday, 

284 Journal of John Work 

they made to the mountains. Some were prowHng about our 
camp last night the tracks of two who passed close to in the 
night were observed this morning. 

Monday, April 25th. 

Cloudy, cold weather. 

Returned down the river to near our encampment of the 
20th. The people visited the traps but only one beaver was 
taken. The water in this httle river rose several feet in the 
night. Though only a day's journey from our encampment of 
this morning there is a material difference in the appearance 
of the country. Vegetation has here made considerable 
progress, and we found pretty good feeding for our horses. 

Tuesday, April 26th. 

Rained the greater part of the day, bright in the morning 
but heavy towards evening. 

Moved camp and marched 10 miles S. W. across a point 
to Snake river. Here we had the satisfaction to find excellent 
feeding for our horses. One beaver was taken in the morning. 
The men were out in different directions setting their traps. 
Some buffalo were seen and two or three of them were killed 
in the plains, they are still very lean. The hunters observed 
the fresh tracks of some parties of Blackfeet, and thought 
they saw one on horseback. One of the party had a few horses 
with them which they had probably stolen from the Snakes. 

Wednesday, April 27th. 

Heavy rain in the night, and stormy with rain all day. 

The unfavorable weather deterred us from raising camp. 
The people revisited their traps, and set some more. Twenty 
beaver were taken, 16 of them in a small rivulet towards the 
foot of the mountains, which appear never to have been 
trapped nor even known notwithstanding parties of trappers 
having so frequently passed this road. C. Plant, M. Plant, 
Bt. Dubrille and J. Desland found it yesterday. 

Journal of John Work 285 

Thursday, April 28th. 

Cloudy, fair weather. 

Moved camp and proceeded 6 miles down Snake river to 
near the American falls, here we had g-ood feeding for the 
horses. All hands out visiting and setting their traps. Twenty- 
two beaver and two otter were taken, 11 of the beaver from the 
little creek in the plains. Below the rapids there is some 
little appearance of beaver notwithstanding the Americans^ 
passed this way last fall. Some of our hunters had trapped 
big river down to near the falls early in the spring. 

Friday, April 29th. 

Stormy weather, very heavy rain mixed with hail and sleet. 

The unfavorable weather deterred us from moving camp but 
it did not prevent the people from visiting their traps and 
setting several more. 19 beaver were taken. 

Saturday, April 30th. 

Heavy overcast weather with some rain in the morning. 
Cloudy, fine weather afternoon. 

The unfavorable appearance of the weather in the morning 
prevented us from raising camp. The men visited their traps, 
and took 50 beaver in a small creek called the big storm river. 
This little stream appears to have been hunted by the Americans 
last fall, yet there are marks of beaver being still pretty 
numerous. Several of the people's horses became jaded and 
gave up by the way, some had to be left behind, and it was 
dark by the time others reached the encampment. The poor 
horses are still so lean and weak that they are unable to bear 
any kind of a hard day's work. They are in much want of a 
week's repose and good feeding, but the lateness of the season 
will not admit of our allowing them so much. 

Sunday, May 1st, 1831. 
Heavy, cloudy weather, some showers in the afternoon. 

I See note on page 370, Vol. XIII. 

286 Journal of John Work 

Moved camp and proceeded 12 miles S. by W. across a point 
to the little creek^ where the people have their traps set near 
the mountains, the road, though a little hilly, was good, con- 
siderable patches of snow occupying the north side of the 
little hills and the bottoms of the deep gullies. This little 
river is a narrow deep stream resembling the river Bannock, 
running between steep clayey banks. Where we are encamped 
is at the entrance of the mountains, the valley is not wide and 
no wood but some willows on the banks of the river. There is 
pretty good feeding here for the horses, but farther up the 
valley, where the snow has but lately disappeared, the men 
represent the grass as very indifferent, in many places scarcely 
any. All hands visited their traps, 65 beaver and 1 otter were 
brought to the camp, but the greater part of them were taken 
yesterday and left in cache. The traps this morning did not 
yield according to expectation. 

Monday, May 2nd. 

Cloudy, fine weather, some showers in the afternoon. 

Did not move camp in order to allow the horses to feed, 
pretty good grass being at this place, and to allow the men 
time to take up their traps before we descend again to the 
Snake river. Some of the people have been up this river as far 
as there is any wood or beaver. 11 beaver were taken. Some 
of the men set their traps in the big river. 

Tuesday, May 3rd. 

Cloudy, fine, warm weather forenoon; stormy with thunder 
and some rain towards evening. 

Moved camps, and proceeded 10 miles S. W. to the Snake 
river, where we encamped among hills on the small crawfish 
river. The road very hilly and fatiguing on the horses, many 
of whom were much fatigued on making the encampment. 
They were recompensed by excellent grazing. The men were 
on ahead setting their traps. 12 beaver and 1 otter were 

Journal of John Work 287 

Wednesday, May 4th. 

Cloudy, stormy weather. 

Marched 10 miles W. S. W. to Raft river which we fell 
upon 10 or 15 miles from its junction with Snake river. The 
road good but very hilly the forepart of the journey. Raft 
river is now very high and muddy owing to the melting of 
the snow. There are some appearance of beaver in it though 
this part of it was hunted by the Americans last fall. The 
men visited and changed their traps. 11 beaver were taken. 
Some tracks of buflfalo were seen on the opposite side of Snake 
river, and the tracks of some herds ascending the river. We 
have, if possible, to procure a stock of provisions as we have 
a long way to march through a country nearly destitute of 
animals of any kind, and this is the last place where we are 
likely to find any buflfalo. 

Thursday, May 5th. 

Cloudy, stormy weather, thunder and some very heavy rain 
towards morning. 

Marched 5 miles south up the river, when, we encamped, 
and sent the most of the people after a large herd of buflfalo 
which was discovered feeding in the mountain. Our horses 
have improved a little and are now able to catch them. The 
buflfalo are beginning to get a little older, and though scarcely 
the appearance of fat is to be found on the meat, is tolerably 
palatable. The people visited their traps in the morning, 14 
beaver were taken. Gave orders for the people not to go 
ahead lest they would disturb the buflfalo and drive them 
farther off. 

Friday, May 6th. 

Cloudy, fine weather. 

Did not move camp in order to allow the people to dry the 
meat which was killed yesterday. The buflfalo are so lean 
now that they scarcely yield as much dry meat, and of an 
inferior quality, as one would do in the fall or early part of 
the winter. 5 beaver were taken. 

288 Journal of John Work 

Saturday, May 7th. 

Cloudy, fine weather. 

Marched 12 miles south up the river. The road good, but 
very indifferent feeding for the horses. A number of the 
people went after a herd of buffalo which was grazing on 
the opposite side of the river, and killed several, the meat 
of which the women are now busy drying. It is fortunate 
we find buffalo here as it saves us the trouble of going a long 
day's march to the Eastward, to a place out into the plains 
called the Fountain where buffalo are always said to be found. 
It would lose at least three days going to this plain. I had 
some trouble in preventing some of the men from running 
ahead of the camp with their traps and raising the animals. 
Some of them want no provisions themselves and are indif- 
ferent whether others have it in their power to get any or not. 
By missing the opportunity of collecting a little provisions 
now the people would be obliged to eat several of their horses 
before reaching the Fort,^ as animals of any kind are uncertain. 
(?) beaver were taken. 

Sunday, May 8th. 

Cloudy, fine weather. 

Marched 12 miles south up the river. The road still good, 
but grass for the horses very indifferent. A number of the 
people went in pursuit of a large herd of buffalo which was 
feeding on the opposite shore of the river, and killed a number 
of them, the meat of which is now being dried. Blackfeet are 
still following our camp. Two of the young men, who went 
out into the plain yesterday to discover buffalo, saw them, but 
were not sure, on account of the haze, whether it was men or 
antelopes. Two of the men who went back this morning for 
some traps which they had (left) behind saw the Indians 
coming to our camp after all the people had left it some time. 
(?) beaver were taken. 

I Fort N€z Perce. 

Journal of John Work 289 

Monday, May 9th. 

Fine weather. 

Did not move camp in order to give the people time to 
kill some more buffalo. Some large herds were found at the 
foot of the mountains on this side of the river, a number of 
whom were killed. The most of the people have now nearly 
enough provisions, what little a few of the people still want 
we expect to find as we advance up the river. Some marks 
of Blackfeet were seen near the camp this morning. In the 
morning the buffalo were observed flying from the mountains 
to the eastward, and it is conjectured they were disturbed 
by a band of those marauders. 

Tuesday, May 10th. 

Unpleasant, stormy weather. 

Raised camp, and proceeded 10 miles south up the river, 
the Roche,^ where it becomes confined in a narrow valley. 
Here we found good feeding for the horses. No buffalo to 
be seen today until towards evening when a small band were 
observed in the mountain. Some of the people went after 
them, but only one was killed. One of the men, M. Plante, 
who went after the buffaloes was behind the others when 
returning and discovered a Blackfoot Indian on horseback 
and fired upon him but missed. The Indian made off towards 
the mountain, when five other Blackfeet were observed afoot. 
These scamps are still following us seeking an opportunity 
to steal. 

Wednesday, May 11th. 

Cloudy, rather cold weather. 

Marched 10 miles S. S. W. up the river, the road good. 
We deviated a little from our straight road today in order to 
send off a party of our men to hunt in another direction 
tomorrow. The people visited some traps which were set 
yesterday and took 6 beaver. No buffalo nor the marks of 
any to be seen today. 

I Must refer to branch of Raft, not Rock river. 

290 Journal of John Work 

Thursday, May 12th. 

Fine weather in the morning, but heavy rain and snow 
and very cold afterwards. 

Raised camp and marched 10 miles across the mountains, 
and encamped on a small rivulet of snow water. The head 
of Raft river appears in a deep valley to the west of us. The 
road on the mountains hilly and rugged and some places stony, 
and in places very boggy. The snow still lies in banks of 
considerable depth, and appears but very recently to have 
disappeared off most of the ground. The grass is barely be- 
ginning to spring up except on small spots exposed to the 
south, which has been some time clear of snow, where vegeta- 
tion has made some progress. From the very ruggedness of 
the road and the badness of the weather this was a harassing 
day both on horses and people. For want of water we could 
not encamp sooner. In order that we may make a better I sep- 
arated a party this morning and sent 8 men, viz. C. Plante 
(who is in charge of the party), J. Deslard, F. Champagne, 
L. Rondeau, L. Quenstall, A. Dumarais, Bt. Dubrielle and A. 
Longtin to hunt to the Westward on the heads of small rivers 
which run into Snake river and on the Eastern fork of Sand- 
wich Island River,^ while I with the remainder of the party 
proceed to the southward to Ogden's river, and then to the 
head of Sandwich Island river. 

Plante was directed to push on and make a good encamp- 
ment today so that he might get out of the reach of the Black- 
feet who are still following our track, but instead of doing so 
some of the people who went in pursuit of a horse that fol- 
lowed the party found the encampment only a few miles from 
our last night's station. If they push on they will in a short 
time be out of the reach of the Blackfeet. 

Friday, May 13th. 
Raw, cold weather, froze keen in the night. 

I Owyhee river. 

Journal of John Work 291 

Marched 15 miles S. E. to the entrance to the plain^ of 
Great Salt Lake. The road very hilly and rugged, numerous 
gullies to pass, several of which are still full of snow, through 
which the horses sometimes with difficulty dragged them- 
selves. Nearly all this day's journey through the mountains 
the snow has but recently disappeared even in patches, and 
the grass is still so imbedded with water that the horses nearly 
bog in it. Except a few spots here and there the grass is 
barely beginning to shoot up, and in many places vegetation 
is not yet commenced. Where we are encamped there is a 
little grass for the horses. 

This was a fatiguing day on both men and horses, many of 
the latter with difficulty reached the encampment. 

Saturday, May 14th. 

Cloudy, cold weather. 

Marched 12 miles S. along the foot of the mountains, and 
encamped on a small river on Mr. Ogden's usual road to 
Odgen's river. The road today was good and pretty level 
though intersected by several gullies, some of which are still 
full of snow. The mountains to the West are still partially 
covered with snow, and appear very rugged. To the eastward 
lies the great plain thickly studded with clumps of hills. About 
this neighborhood we expected to find some buffalo, and that 
such of the people as are short of provisions would furnish 
themselves with some more, but not the mark of a buffalo 
is to be seen. There are a good many antelopes in the plains 
and some black-tail chevereau. 

Sunday, May 15th. 

Cloudy, fine weather. The air rather cool in the neighbor- 
hood of the snow-clad mountains. 

Proceeded on our journey 8 miles south, when we en- 
camped on a small rivulet which barely yields sufficient water 
for the horses. No water being found near was the cause of 
our putting up so early at this place. The road lay along the 
foot of the mountains, and though hilly was good. It was 

1 Near to Kelton, Utah. 

292 Journal of John Work 

intersected by several gullies, some of which are still full of 
snow. Large hills and points of mountains lay below us and 
the plains than yesterday. Found an old Snake Indian woman 
who said her people were encamped near some of the people: 
also found three men of the same nation with horses. These 
people seldom venture from the mountains, they are now 
employed collecting roots, none of them have yet ventured to 
our camp. 

Monday, May 16th. 

Cloudy, cool weather in the morning, fine weather after- 

Continued our route 13 miles south to what is called the 
Fountain, which is a small spring of indifferent brackish water 
in the plain where the soil is mixed with saline matter. Not 
only water is scarce here but there is very little grass for our 
horses. The road though hilly is pretty good, it lay down a 
deep gully and over several hills before we reached the plain. 
Ranges of mountains covered with snow ran to the westward, 
besides the plain is studded with detached hills, several of 
which are still covered with snow. On reaching the plain it 
appears to be eastward like an immense lake with black, 
rocky hills, here and there like islands large tracts of the 
plain appear perfectly white and destitute of any kind of vege- 
tation it is said to be composed of white clay. A small lake 
appears in it at some distance. To the South E. is the Utah 
lake and river, to the southward the (?) is said to be 
destitute of water for a long way, yet snow-capped mountains 
appear in that direction. We found a few Snake Indians en- 
camped here, and a party of 20 men visited us from farther 
out in the plain. Some leather and other trifles were traded 
from them by the people. 

Tuesday, May 17th. 

Fine weather. 

Continued our march 10 miles W. S. W. to small rivulet 
of indifferent brackish water which winds through a salt, 
marshy valley. There is pretty good feeding for the horses. 

Journal of John Work 293 

The road pretty good and level though there are detached 
hills on each side of us. The rivulet is lost in the plain a littic 
below our encampment. 

Wednesday, May 18th. 

Fine, warm weather. 

Proceeded 7 miles W. S. W. up the little rivulet, which 
continues of the same appearance and about the same size. 
We encamped early on account of no water being to be found 
farther on. Tomorrow we have a very long encampment to 

Thursday, May 19th. 

Cloudy, fine, warm weather. 

Continued our journey at an early hour and marched 25 
miles S. S. W. to a range of mountains which we crossed, and 
then across a plain to a small rivulet which we found un- 
expectedly in the middle of it. The road good but hilly crossing 
the mountains. Not a drop of water to be had all the way. 
We found water near two hours march sooner than we ex- 
pected, yet several of the horses were much jaded, some of 
them nearly giving up. That and the dirt were more oppres- 
sive upon them than the distance they came. The mountains 
round this valley^ and plain are not very high, yet in places 
still covered with snow. The track of elk, black-tail deer are 
seen in the mountains but could not be approached. Cabins 
(?) are seen in the plains, but all very shy. The hunters 
saw some Indians; the naked wretches fled to the mountains. 
None of them visited our camp. 

Friday, May 20th. 
Fine, warm weather. 

Continued our course 12 miles S. S. W. across the plain 
where we encamped on a small stream of brackish water 
which runs through salt marsh, and in a short distance is lost 
in the plain. 

Saturday, May 21st. 
Fine weather, a thunder storm and a little rain. 

I Grouse Creek Valley. i 

294 Journal of John Work 

Proceeded on our journey 16 miles W. S. W. over a rough, 
stony though not high mountain, and then across a plain 
to a lake, where we had the satisfaction to find good water. 
The road over the mountains stony and rugged, but across 
the plain very good. A range of high mountains covered with 
snow appear ahead of us. Some antelopes are seen in the 
plains, but no appearance of any other animals. 

Sunday, May 22nd. 

Sultry, warm weather. 

Marched 20 miles W. N. W. to the W. end of a steep snowy 
mountain, there we encamped in a small creek which rises 
from the mountain, the waters of which are lost in the plains 
below. This morning we left Mr. Ogden's track to Ogden's 
river in hopes to reach the river sooner and fall upon it a 
few day's march higher up than the usual route. Our road 
good, lay through an extensive plain. From the heat of the 
day and the distance marched the horses were much jaded and 
the people fatigued on nearing the encampment. However, 
we have good water and excellent feeding for the horses. Sev- 
eral naked starved looking Indians visited the camp. We have 
been seeing the tracks of these people every day, but seldom 
any of them venture to approach us. 

Monday, May 23rd. 

Warm weather. 

Continued our journey at an early hour and marched 16 
miles W. N. W. through a small defile across the end of the 
mountain and down a plain to the E. fork of Ogden's^ river. 
This branch river runs through a low part of the plain which 
is now a swamp owing tO' the height of the water, the river 
having overflowed its banks. Several of the people were 
ahead both up and down the river with their traps. No ves- 
tiges of beaver are to be seen on the fork where we are en- 
camped, though some of the people ascended it to near the 
mountains. In the middle or principal fork the water is so 
high that the river can only be approached in places the banks 

Journal of John Work 295 

being overflowed and the low ground in its neighborhood 
inundated it is difficult to discern any marks of beaver, never- 
theless, several traps were set at a venture. 

Tuesday, May 24th. 

Warm, sultry weather. 

Marched 15 miles W. N. W. across the plain to the middle 
fork of the river. We had some difficulty crossing the E. 
fork, several of the horses bogged in its swampy banks. The 
road across the plain pretty good ; the low ground through 
which the river runs is nearly all flooded. The river here has 
a good deal of willows on its banks. Only three beaver were 
taken. The people begin to apprehend there are but few 
beaver in the river, and from the height of the water these 
few cannot be taken. This part of the river was hunted two 
years ago by a party of hunters which Mr. Ogden sent this 
way, they found a good many beaver and supposed the river 
was not clean trapped. 

Wednesday, May 25th. 

Overcast, thunder and heavy rain afternoon. 

Proceeded 10 miles up the river which here runs from N. 
to S., the road good, the banks of the river everywhere over- 
flowed. Four beaver and 1 otter were taken. The part of 
the river we passed today is well-wooded with willows, and 
appears well-adapted for beaver, yet few appear to be in it. 
A party of Indians visited our camp this morning and ex- 
changed two horses with the people. Some of the people 
were out hunting. F. Payette and L. Kanotti killed each an 
antelope. These are the only animals to be seen here, and 
they are so shy that it is difficult to kill any of them. Several 
of the people are getting short of provisions, and not finding 
beaver here as was expected is discouraging the people. 
Thursday, May 26th. 

Overcast weather, blowing fresh. 

Did not raise camp in order to allow our horse to feed and 
repose a little, of which they are in much want, they have 
been nearly 16 days without one day's rest, they are all very 

296 Journal of John Work 

lean and many of them much jaded. I was still expecting to 
find some beaver that we might allow the horses to recruit 
a little and hunt at the same time, and was induced to push 
on even to the injury to some of the horses. The people 
visited their traps but only four beaver were taken. Those 
who went farther up the river bring no better accounts of the 
appearance of beaver. The water is falling a little above. 
A party of Snake Indians visited us. They inform us that 
there are a few small streams in the mountains where there 
are a few beaver. 

Friday, May 27th. 

Cloudy, fine weather. 

Continued our journey 12 miles up the river to a small 
branch which falls in from the north, the main stream 
running here from the west. The head of this small fork is 
close to the head of the Big Stone^ river which falls into Snake 
river. The road pretty good till we reached the fork, where, 
on account of the water, it is a perfect bog and we had much 
difficulty in crossing it, several of the horses bogged and 
some of the things were wet. 4 beaver were taken. No better 
signs of beaver. Some of the people were hunting antelopes, 
which are the only animals to be seen here, but only one was 

Saturday, May 28th. 

Stormy, cold weather. 

Proceeded on our journey 16 miles up the river west to 
above where it is enclosed between steep, rocky hills. The road 
part of the way very hilly and rugged and so stony that the 
horses ran much risk of breaking their legs. Here we found 
a place where the river is fordable. The water has subsided 
a little within these few days. During this day's march the 
river is well wooded with poplar and willows, yet there is 
very little appearance of beaver, only three were taken today. 
Four of the young men who left the camp on the 25th arrived 
in the evening. They struck across the country to the W. 

I Probably Salmon river. 

Journal of John Work 297 

fork of the river which they ascend to the mountains, and 
did not find a mark of a beaver to induce them to put a trap 
in the wet. That branch, Hke the one we are on, has over- 
flowed its banks. The young men on the way here passed 
two small streams which run towards Snake river. 

Sunday, May 29th. 

Stormy, raw, cold weather. 

Crossed the river in the morning and proceeded across the 
mountains 10 miles S. S. W. to a small stream which falls 
into Bruneau river. The road hilly and rugged and very 
swampy on the banks of the little river which we crossed. 
There is still a good deal of snow in large banks in the moun- 
tains, it appears not to have been long since it disappeared 
in the valleys as the grass is still very short and vegetation 
but little advanced. A few of the people who imagined the 
river was not fordable above remained at a narrow part in 
the rocks yesterday evening and made a bridge by felling 
trees so that they fell across the river over which they car- 
ried their baggage but in crossing their horses one belonging 
to G. R. Rocque was drowned. 

Monday, May 30th. 

Mild weather in the morning, which was succeeded by a 

violent thunder storm which continued a considerable time. 

Stormy, cold weather during the remainder of the day. The 
unfavorable weather deterred us from raising camp. 

Thursday, May 31st. 

Stormy, cold weather, some showers in the morning, and 
a heavy snow storm in the evening, keen frost last night. 

Continued our journey 13 miles across the mountains to 
a small stream which we suppose falls into Sandwich Island 
river. The road very hilly and rugged, being over a number 
of deep gullies. There is also a good deal of snow on the 
mountains, some bars of which we had to cross. The country 
has a bare appearance. Not an animal except a chance 
antelope to be seen. 

298 Journal of John Work 

Friday, June 1st. 

Keen frost in the night, stormy, cold weather during the 

Continued our route 12 miles W. across the mountains 
and down into the valley where a number of small branches 
fell in from the mountains and formed the head of the E. fork 
of Sandwich Island river. This little valley is about 20 miles 
long and 15 wide. A small fork falls in from the S., 2 from 
the eastward, one from the W., all of which form one stream 
which runs to the N. W. through a narrow channel bordered 
by steep, impassable rocks. The different forks in the valley 
have some willows on the banks and seem well adapted for 
beaver, yet the men who have been out in every direction 
setting the traps complain that the marks of beaver are scarce. 
The water has been lately very high and all the plain over- 
flowed, though this valley has not been known ever to have 
been hunted, but is now subsiding. To the southward there 
is a small height of land which separates the waters of this 
river from a fork of Ogden's river, to the westward there is 
a high rugged mountain covered with snow. Our road today 
was very rugged and hilly, and in many places boggy, the snow 
having but very recently gone off the ground, indeed, we 
passed over several banks of it. 

Saturday, June 1st. 

Fine weather. 

We are like to be devoured by mosquitoes. Did not raise 
camp that we might see what beaver might be taken. The 
people visited and changed their traps. Only 12 beaver were 
taken, which is nothing for the number of traps, 150, which 
were in the water, and what is worse the men complain there 
is little signs of any more worth while being got. Several of 
the people were out hunting, but with little success, which I 
regret as provisions are getting pretty scarce in the camp. Not 
an animal to be seen but antelopes and but few of them, and 
even these are so shy that it is difficult to approach them. 
There are some cranes in the valley but almost as difficult to 

Journal of John Work 299 

be got at as the antelopes. The hunters observe the tracks 
of some sheep in the mountains, but they appear to have been 
driven off by some straggHng Indians whose tracks are seen. 
Altogether this is a very poor country. Owing to the late- 
ness of the Spring the Indians who frequent these parts to 
collect roots have not yet assembled so that even a few roots, 
bad as they are, are not to be got to assist those who are 
scarce of food. 

Sunday, June 3rd. 

Cloudy, fine weather. 

Continued our journey 12 miles S. S. W. to a branch of 
Ogden's river where it issues from a steep, snow covered 
mountain. This stream is well wooded with poplar and wil- 
lows, and appears well adapted for beaver, yet the people found 
only one solitary lodge in it and scarcely a mark of beaver 
either old or new, though they examined it for a considerable 
distance. One man set a few traps. Seven of the men : A. 
Findlay, P. Findlay, M. Findlay, M. Plante, A. Plante, Bt. 
Gardipie and Soteaux St. Germain, separated from the party 
this morning in order to proceed down the river, if practicable 
and thence by the usual road to the fort by Snake river, and 
endeavor to pick up a few beaver by the way, but principally 
to procure some animals to subsist on. These men are all half 
Indians, some of them with large families, and placing too 
much reliance on their capacity as hunters did not take so 
much precaution as the other men to provide a stock of food 
previous to leaving the buffalo, they are, therefore, now en- 
tirely out of provisions, and it is expected they will have a little 
chance of killing antelopes and cheveau when only a few 
than when the camp is all together. 7 beaver were taken this 
morning, making 19 in all in this valley where we expected 
to make a good hunt. 

Monday, June 4th. 

Very stormy, cold weather. 

Crossed the mountains a distance of 18 miles S. S. W. to 
a small stream which falls into the W. branch of Sandwich 

300 Journal of John Work 

Island river. The road very hilly and rugged and in places 
stony; we had several banks of snow to pass. The road 
was in places nearly barred with burnt fallen wood. The 
little fork, where we are encamped, is well wooded with 
poplar and willows, yet only in two places are the marks of 
beaver to be seen. Some of them men have proceeded on 
to the main branch and set 22 traps where they saw the ap- 
pearance of some beaver. 

Tuesday, June 5th. 
Stormy, cold weather. 

Continued our route 9 miles S. S. W. to the main branch of 
the river, road hilly and rugged. Crossed a small stream 
with a number of hot springs on its banks, some of them near 
a boiling temperature. The river here has been lately very 
high, and overflowed its banks, but the waters are subsiding, 
and river about 10 yards wide. Have fallen a good deal. 
The traps which were set yesterday produced only 6 beaver. 
This seems to be a miserably poor country, not even an ante- 
lope to be seen on the plains. The tracks of some sheep are 
to be seen on the mountains, but they are so shy there is no 
approaching them. Some Indians visited our camp this morn- 
ing and traded a few roots, but the quantity was very small. 

Wednesday, June 6th. 

Stormy, cold weather. 

Did not raise camp. The men out in different directions 
with their traps. Those which were in the water yesterday 
provided 14 beaver. The men begin to have a little more 
expectations. The Indians stole two traps in the night, one 
from Kanota and one from A. Hoole. There is no means 
of pursuing or finding out the thief as they ran to the moun- 
tains. There is no doubt they came to attempt stealing the 
horses, but not finding an opportunity they fell in with and 
carried off the traps. 

Journal of John Work 301 

Thursday, June 7th. 

Still raw, cold weather, blowing fresh. 

Did not raise camp. 10 beaver were taken. Some of the 
people went with the traps to some small streams which fell 
in from the eastward which was not hunted by Mr. Ogden's 
people when they hunted here two years ago. They saw the 
appearance of a few beaver. 

Friday, June 8th. 

Weather mild these three days past. 

Moved a few miles down the river to a better situation for 
the horses and where we will be a little nearer the people 
with their traps. 17 beaver were taken. Some of the people 
moved their traps a little farther down the river. The road 
is very hilly, rugged and stony. Some Indians visited our 
camp this morning with a few roots. 

Saturday, June 9th. 

Did not raise camp. The people visited and changed their 
traps. 7 beaver were taken. Some of the men have not re- 
turned from the traps. 

Sunday, June 10th. 

Cloudy, cold weather. Did not move camp. 18 beaver 
were taken. 2 traps stolen from Pichetto. The men who went 
farthest down the river returned and report that there are 
but small signs of beaver. Those from the forks to the east- 
ward say there are a few there. Some Indians visited us 
with a few roots to trade. Miserably poor as these wretches 
are and the small quantity of roots they bring yet it provides 
several people with a meal occasionally which is very accepta- 
ble to them as provisions previous to the late supply of beaver 
was becoming very scarce among us. 

Monday, June 11th. 
Warm, fine weather. 

302 Journal of John Work 

Did not move camp. Several beaver were taken. There 
is still a chance beaver in the little forks to the eastward and 
down the river towards the rocks where the river bears so 
rapidly that no beaver are to be found, but not enough to 
employ all the people or worth while to delay for the season 
being so far advanced. We, therefore, intend to move up the 
river tomorrow and hunt the head of it. 
Tuesday, June 12th. 

Cloudy, sultry weather in the morning, which was succeeded 
by thunder and heavy rain and hail, raw, cold weather after- 

Raised camp and moved 7 miles up the river, where we had 
to encamp with the bad weather. 6 beaver were taken, two 
traps stolen from Pichette and 1 from Royer. 
Wednesday, June 13th. 

Overcast, blowing fresh towards evening. 

Proceeded up the river^ 11 miles S. S. W. to opposite a 
a branch which falls in from the eastward. Here the trappers 
with Mr. Ogden crossed the mountains from Ogden's river 
to this plain two years ago. I meant to have taken the same 
road but have altered the plan by its being represented to me 
that several days will be saved and some bad stony road 
avoided by crossing the mountains farther to the southward, 
and falling upon Ogden river farther down. In this part of 
the river we will miss the few beaver to be expected. Some 
of the men visited the head of the river to the mountain, and 
two forks that fall in from the eastward to near the same, 
and though they are well-wooded and apparently well adapted 
for beaver, yet scarely a mark of them is to be seen. 
Thursday, June 14th. 

Fair weather. 

Continued our journey 18 miles across the mountains, viz.: 
S. W. 9 miles to the top of the mountains and S. 9 miles down 
the S. side of the mountains, the road hilly and uneven and 
in places stony. The mountains, though not high, have still 

I Head of Owyhee river. 

Journal of John Work 303 

patches of snow here and there upon them. Some of the 
people are out hunting but without success. A chance ante- 
lope is the only animal to be seen, and these are so shy that 
it is very difficult to approach them. The hunters saw three 
Indians, and the men who were on discovery yesterday saw 
some more, and their tracks are to be seen in every direction, 
yet none of them visit our camp. 

Friday, June 15th. 

Fine, warm weather. 

Did not raise camp on account of one of the women being 
brought to bed. Some of the people were out hunting but 
without success. 

Saturday, June 16th. 

Fine weather. 

Continued our route 12 miles S. over a number of hills and 
valleys to a small river where we encamped for the night. 
The road good, but here and there stony and generally 
gravelly and hard, which much wears down the horses' hoofs 
and renders their feet sore. These nights past we have had 
sharp frost, but here the weather is sultry, and we are annoyed 
with mosquitoes, which will neither give ourselves peace nor 
allow the poor horses to feed. 

Sunday, June 17th. 

Fine, warm weather. 

Marched 21 miles S. S. W. along the side of an extensive 
plain to near Ogden's river. The plain here is partially over- 
flowed and become a swamp, we can scarcely find a spot to 
encamp. Among the lodges the horses are nearly bogging, 
and to mend the matter we are like to be devoured by innumer- 
able swarms of mosquitoes which do' not allow us a moment's 
tranquillity, and so torment the horses that notwithstanding 
their long day's march they cannot feed. All hands are ahead 
of the camp with their traps, but found the river so high, 
having overflowed its banks, that they could not approach it 
except in chance places. Three of the men set 9 traps, which 
were all that could be put in the water. I much regret finding 

304 Journal of John Work 

the river so hig-h that it cannot be hunted as the people's last 
reliance was upon the few beaver which they expected to take 
in it in order to make up the hunt, but, more particularly, for 
food. The most of them are becoming- very scarce of pro- 
visions, and they have now no other recourse but to kill horses. 
Some of the people nearly devoured their horses crossing the 
swamp on their way to the camp. They saw a small herd of 
antelopes in the plain, but they could not be approached. A 
few wild fowl were killed, of which there a good many in 
the swamp. 

Monday, June 16th. 

Cloudy, warm, sultry weather. 

Pursued our journey 14 miles S. S. W. and 7 miles W. down 
the river. Marched longer today than was intended not being 
able to find a place to encamp in consequence of the swamping 
of the banks of the river, which are almost everywhere over- 
flowed. The men were sent along the river with their traps, 
but not one could be set. Only one beaver was taken in the 9 
which were set yesterday. It is the opinion of the more ex- 
perienced hunters that there are a few beaver still in this part 
of the river, but owing to the height of the water they cannot 
be taken. People passed twice this way about this season of 
the year before but never saw the water so high as at present. 
We expected to have found some Indians here and obtained 
some eatables from them, either roots or anything or another, 
but none are to be seen in consequence of the height of the 
water; they cannot remain on the river but are off to the 

Tuesday, June 19th. 

Clear, very warm weather. 

Continued our journey 16 miles down the river which here 
runs to the N. W. The river is still full to the banks and all 
the low plains overflowed. The men again visited the river 
but could not put a trap in the water. Both people and horses 
are like to be devoured by innumerable swarms of mosquitoes 
and sand flies. The horses cannot feed they are so much 

Journal of John Work 305 

annoyed by them, the banks of the river are so swampy 
that they bog when they approach to drink. 

Wednesday, June 20th. 

Overcast, thunder and very heavy rain afternoon. 

Continued our journey 19 miles to the N. W. along the 
river and then to the foot of the mountains, where we found a 
little water and some grass for the horses. These three days 
the river runs through an extensive plain, the mountains 
approach close to it. The farther we descend the river it be- 
comes more difficult to approach on account of its banks being 
overflowed. Two of the men, J. Toupe and G. Rocque, killed 
a horse having nothing to eat, the provisions being all done. 
On leaving the buffalo the people calculated on getting a few 
beaver and did not lay in such a stock of provisions as they 
otherwise would have done. This is really a miserable, poor 
country, not even an antelope to be seen. 

Thursday, June 21. 

Cloudy, fine weather, blowing fresh in the morning. 

Proceeded across the mountain, and then across an extensive 
plain 20 miles W. to a small fork which falls into Ogden's 
river. By this route we saved two days' journey besides going 
round by the river. To our great disappointment and contrary 
to our expectations we found the little river had overflowed its 
banks and the plain in its neighborhood in a swamp so that 
we could not approach it ; it is to be apprehended we will have 
much trouble crossing it. The different parties which formerly 
passed this way found this little creek with very little water in 
it. Several of the people were out hunting but did not see an 
animal. They expected to find some antelopes in the hills. 

Friday, June 22nd. 

Warm, sultry weather. 

Proceeded up the river three miles N. N. W. and succeeded 
in crossing it by means of a bridge of willows. The river 
here is narrower but very deep with clayey banks so steep and 

306 Journal of John Work 

soft that the horses could not get out of it were they thrown 
in to swim across. Too, near this plain its banks were so over- 
flowed that it could not be approached. This was a hard day's 
work both on people and horses. The horses, as well as people, 
are like to be devoured by swarms of mosquitoes and gadflies. 
The river here is well flooded, and seems remarkably well 
adapted for beaver, yet there is not the least mark of any to 
be seen in it. 

Saturday, June 23rd. 

Fine, warm weather. 

Continued our journey 15 miles W. N. W. across the plain to 
the foot of the mountains. We crossed two other forks of 
the same river we left in the morning, one of them much larger 
than it, but we found a good ford. Some Indians were seen 
along the mountains, but they fled on our approach. 

Sunday, June 24th. 

Clear, fine weather. 

Crossed the mountain 19 miles W. N. W. Road very hilly 
and stony. From the steepness and highness of the mountain 
and the badness of the road this was a most harassing and 
fatiguing day on both men and horses. We find tracks of 
Indians but none of them approach us. The best hunters of 
the party were out in the mountains, which have still a good 
deal of snow on them, in quest of sheep, but without success. 
They saw the tracks of some, but could not find them. 

Monday, June 25th. 

Clear, warm weather. 

Marched seven miles N. N. E. along the foot of the moun- 
tain, and 15 miles across the plain to a little river which runs 
to the southward, and which we found impassable, its banks 
having been lately overflowed, and remain still like a quag- 
mire. The best hunters are out, but as usual did not see a 
single animal of any sort. One of the men, P. O'Brien ( ?), was 
under the necessity of killing one of his horses to eat. Thus 
are the people in this miserable country obliged to kill and 

Journal of John Work 307 

feed upon these useful animals, the companions of their labors. 
We passed a small Indian camp, but the poor, frightened 
wretches fled on our appearance and concealed themselves 
among the wormwood. Only two men who were on ahead 
saw any of them. 

Tuesday, June 26th. 

Very warm, sultry weather. 

Marched five miles N. up the river to a place where we 
crossed one of its forks with little trouble, but the other which 
was close, too, was very difficult, the men had to wade across 
it with the baggage, its banks are like a morass, and several 
of the horses bogged so that they had to be dragged out. 
Crossed a plain five miles N. N. W. to another fork, which 
we crossed without further difficulty than bogging a few of 
the horses. This was a most harassing and fatiguing day 
both on men and horses. 

Wednesday, June 27th. 

Blowing fresh, yet very warm weather. 

Continued our march 15 miles N. W. along the foot of the 
mountains to a small rivulet which falls into the river we 
passed yesterday. The road good but in places stony and 
embarrassed with wormwood. The hunters were out today 
but without success. Two antelopes were seen yesterday, 
which was a novelty. 

Thursday, June 28th. 

Very warm weather, though blowing fresh the after part of 
the day. Proceeded on our journey 23 miles N. W. along the 
foot of the mountains, crossed the head of the river we left 
two days ago, and over the hill to a small rivulet, which is 
said to be a fork of the Owhyhee river. The road good, but 
in places stony. The hunters were out. F. Payette had the 
good fortune to kill a male antelope. One of the men saw four 
sheep on the plain, but did not kill any of them. 

308 Journal of John Work 

Friday, June 29th. 

Blowing fresh, which rendered the weather a httle cool and 

Marched 28 miles N. N. W. first across a plain and salt 
swamp and over a range of hills and across another valley, 
part of which has the appearance of the bed of a lake, but is 
quite dry and hard, and encamped near the foot of a mountain 
covered with snow. The road in some places stony, and from 
the length of the encampments very fatiguing both on horses 
and people, neither of which have a moment's quietness either 
to feed or repose, they are so annoyed with immense swarms 
of mosquitoes. The hunters were out, but without success. 
They saw the tracks of some antelopes and sheep. Some 
Indian tracks were seen, but none of them approach us, some 
of them had horses. 

Saturday, June 30th. 

Warm and very sultry in the morning, a breeze of wind 

Continued our journey along the foot of the mountains^ 18 
miles N. by W., the road good. Passed two small lakes, in 
one of which the people found a good many eggs. S. Kanota 
killed an antelope, and F. Payette a young one. A. Letendre 
had to kill one of his horses to eat. 

Sunday, July 1st. 

Fine weather. 

Our road lay along the foot of the mountains 12 miles N. W. 
Part of the road very hilly and very stony. The stony road 
and continual mounting wearing out the horses' hoofs and 
rendering them lame. Though the mountains in our neigh- 
borhood have still patches of snow on them, the little creek 
where we are encamped barely affords sufficient water for the 
horses to drink. The hunters killed nothing today. J. Despard 
killed one of his horses. 

I Stein's Mountains. •, . 

Journal of John Work 309 

Monday, July 2nd. 

Fine weather. 

Continued our journey N. W. 19 miles to Sylvalle's Lake.^ 
The road part of the day stony. The lake is unusually high, 
and the water brackish and so very bad that it is like a vomit 
to drink it. The hunters were out but without success. There 
are a number of wild fowl in the lake, but they are so shy 
that they cannot be approached. 

Tuesday, July 3d. 

Warm, sultry weather, a thunder storm in the evening. 

Our road lay along the lake and across a point to Sylvalle's 
River^ in rather a circuitous road, nearly W. N. W. 20 miles. 
The road good. Some of the men set a few traps, they saw 
the appearance of a chance beaver. 

Wednesday, July 4th. 

Very warm, but blowing fresh afternoon. 

Continued our journey up the river 15 miles N. N. W. to 
the first rocks. The horses like to be devoured by gad-flies. 
F. Payette went to hunt yesterday and returned today with 
two antelopes. L. Kanota also killed two. The traps which 
were set yesterday produced four beaver. 

Thursday, July 5th. 

Very warm weather. 

Did not raise camp in order to allow the horses to repose, 
of which they are in much need, they having marched 19 days 
successively without stopping a day to rest. They have been 
becoming lean for some time back and their hoofs are so much 
worn that some of them are becoming lame. The most of the 
people set their traps yesterday, 13 beaver were taken. The 
hunters were out. A. Houle killed a chevereau and the boy, 
Prevost, an antelope. Four Indians paid us a visit; they had 
nothing with them to trade; they received a few trifles, and 
promised to return with some roots to trade. 

1 Malheur Lake. 

2 Silvies' River. 

310 Journal of John Work 

Friday, July 6th. 

Fine weather. 

Marched about 18 miles N. N. W. across a point, and fell 
again upon the river, by this road it is shorter than by following 
all the turns of the river. The people out with the traps, five 
beaver and one otter taken. In the morning one of the men 
arrived with a load of young herons, he found a place where 
they were very numerous. Some more of the people who are 
short of food immediately went to get a supply. These birds 
are very fat. Some of the people say they are very good, others 
say that they are scarcely eatable. Some of the people went 
off to hunt and have not yet returned. 

Fine weather. 

Saturday, July 7th. 

Continued our journey 20 miles up the river N. N. W. Road 
stony, hilly and uneven. Five beaver were taken. The hunt- 
ers arrived. A. Houle killed one elk and three black-tailed 
chevereau, and the boy, Prevost, one young elk. The men with 
the camp caught a wounded deer out of the river. 

Sunday, July 8th. 

Fine weather. 

Proceeded up the river 15 miles N. N. W. to the head of 
the second valley. Three beaver were taken. Some antelopes 
seen crossing the valley, but none taken. 

Monday, July 9th. 

Fine, warm weather, blowing fresh afternoon. 

Left the river which is enclosed by steep hills, and struck 
across the hills and fell upon the river at the head of the upper 
valley at the foot of the mountains, a distance of 13 miles N. W. 
The road good. The hills we passed in the morning well 
timbered with lofty pines, the valley is clear of wood except 
some willows along the different forks of the river. Two 
hunters were out. A. Hoole killed an antelope, and T. Sen- 
atoen a chiveau. 

Journal of John Work 311 

Tuesday, July 10th. 

Very warm weather, still a breeze of wind in the afterpart of 
the day. Crossed the mountains to Day's River ,^ a distance of 
22 miles N. W. The road very hilly and steep, particularly 
the N. side of the mountain. The mountain is thickly wooded 
with tall pine timber. Both people and horses much fatigued 
on nearing the camp, part of the road stony. Day's River 
is well wooded with poplar and willows. Two Indians visited 
our camp this morning and traded five beaver. 

Wednesday, July 11th. 

Very warm sultry weather. 

Proceeded down the river 16 miles W. Parts of the road 
hilly and stony and very fatiguing on the horses, several of 
whom gave up on the way and with difficulty reached the 
camp. Some of the men set a few traps yesterday and took 
two beaver this morning. 

Thursday, July 12th. 

Very warm weather. 

Continued our route down the river, which still runs to the 
westward 11 miles, when we stopped near a camp of Snake 
Indians who have the river barred across for the purpose of 
catching salmon. We, with difficulty, obtained a few salmon 
from them, perhaps enough to give all hands a meal. They 
are taking very few salmon, and are complaining of being 
hungry themselves. No roots can be obtained from them, but 
some of the men traded two or three dogs, but even the few 
of these animals they have are very lean, a sure sign of a 
scarcity of food among Indians. We found two horses with 
these people who were stolen from the men which I left on 
Snake River in September last. They gave up the horses 
without hesitation, and said they had received them from an- 
other band that are in the mountains with some more horses 
which were stolen at the same time. It appears from the ac- 
count that early in the spring some Snakes stole 13 horses from 

I John Day river. 

312 Journal of John Work 

these men at the same time, and immediately made their way 
to this quarter with them. The uncertainty of finding the 
Indians with the rest of the horses in the mountains, the 
fatigued state of our horses, the advanced state of the season, 
and above all the scarcity of food among the people deters 
me from sending some men in search of those horses. I have 
offered the Indians a reward if they will go and bring them. I 
also offered them a little remuneration for the two they had 
here. Part of the way today the road lay over rugged rocks 
on the banks of the river, and was very hard on the already 
wounded feet of the horses. Five beaver were taken in the 

Friday, July 13th. 

Fine weather. 

Did not raise camp in order to repose the horses for a little. 
Only three or four salmon could be obtained from the Indians. 
They complain of being starving themselves. One beaver 
was taken, 

Saturday, July 14th. 

Cool, pleasant weather. 

Continued our journey down the river 25 miles W. The 
road very hilly and stony. The horses jaded and the people 
exhausted on reaching the encampment. Only three or four 
salmon could be obtained from the Indians in the morning 
before we started. 

Sunday, July 15th. 

Fine, cool, pleasant weather. 

Continued our course W. eight miles down the river to an- 
other fork^ equally as large, which falls in from the N., up 
which we proceeded seven miles. The road continued hilly 
and stony. These two days the people found great quantities 
of currants along the banks of the river. 

Monday, July 16th. 
Fine weather. 

I North fork of John Day river. 

Journal of John Work 313 

Proceeded eight miles N. E. up the river, then we took a 
northern direction for eleven miles across the mountains, which 
was here thickly wooded, the road in places very stony and 
very hilly and uneven, and very fatiguing- both on men and 
horses. The hunters were out, but without success except one 
deer which F. Payette killed. Unfortunately we have but 
very indifferent feeding for the horses after the hard day's 

Tuesday, July 17th. 

Fine weather. 

Continued our journey across the mountains 25 miles N. W. 
The country the same in appearance as yesterday until we got 
out of the woods in the after part of the day, when the road 
lay over a number of naked stony hills.^ The length of the 
day's journey and the badness of the road rendered this a 
harrassing day both on men and horses. Some fresh tracks 
of red deer were seen in the course of the day, but they could 
not be come up with. 

Wednesday, July 18th. 

Cool in the morning but very sultry, warm weather after- 

Proceeded ahead of the camp early in the morning accom- 
panied by seven men and arrived at Fort Nezperces in the 
afternoon. Mainly through there being soft sand during the 
heat of the day was excessively oppressive on the horses as 
well as the riders. 

Thursday, July 19th. 

Stormy but warm weather. 

The different parties who separated from the camp have 
arrived, Plante and party yesterday, the others some time ago. 
The party whom I left in September had the misfortune to 
lose the whole of the horses, nearly 30 in number, early in the 
spring. They imprudently allowed them to stray a short 
distance from the camp where there were a few Indians in 
the evening about sunset. The loss was the result of a great 

I Southwest of Pendleton. 

314 Journal of John Work 

degree of negligence on the part of the men. They also put 
what few skins they had with other articles in cache which 
the Indians found and carried off, from a pack to a pack and 
a half of the few beaver they had. The half breeds lost two of 
the horses by theft, and made but very few skins. Plant and 
party also found very few beaver, but they lost no horses. 

Friday, July 20th. 

Fine weather. 

The people whom I left two days ago arrived safe. Since 
our spring journey commenced we have traveled upwards of 
1000 miles, and from the height of the water and scarcity of 
beaver we have very little for the labor and trouble which we 
experienced. Previous to taking up our winter quarters last 
fall we traveled upwards of 980 miles, which, with the different 
moves made during the winter makes better than 2000 miles 
traveled during our voyage. 

Total loss of horses during the voyage, 82, viz. : Stolen by 
the Blackfeet when P. L. Clay was killed, 3 ; stolen by the 
Snake Indians from A. Case and party, 22 ; stolen by the Snake 
Indians from my party during winter, 3 ; stolen by the Snake 
Indians from the half-breeds in summer after leaving me, 2; 
died or gave up on the way previous to reaching the three 
hill plains in the fall, 1 by Toupin, 1 by Dumas, and 3 by 
the half breeds when they left the party on Salmon River, 5 ; 
died or left crossing the plain in the fall, 26; died during the 
winter, 1 1 ; killed for food by A. Carson and party, 3 ; killed 
for food by my party during summer, 5 ; killed for food by 
C. Plante's party during summer, 1 ; drowned crossing a river 
by Royer, 1 ; total, 82. 


The readjusting of the character of the Portland Rose 
Festival, offers an excellent opportunity for transforming it 
into a real folk festival for the Pacific Northwest. It would 
not thus be less a rose festival, for in the rose it has a most 
appropriate designating symbol — one exquisite in beauty and 
matchless for its distinctive fitness. This charming emblem 
would still serve to designate and to decorate, but in making 
it a folk festival it would become an occasion intent on 
suggesting through music and pageantry the inmost spirit, 
power and purpose of the people here. 

The festival would become an experience instead of a show. 
With increased depth and volume of meaning the festival would 
have perpetual youth and become a joy forever. 

In a folk festival the people of the Pacific Northwest obtain 
a new view of their past-making and their traditions. It would 
be a medium of culture for all. Out of its past alone can a 
people obtain an inspiration for genius and future greatness. 
On the past alone must the enduring achievements of a people 
be built. Vividly interpreted, that past becomes the vehicle to 
convey to the social mind and heart its working ideals. 

That a folk festival of the right kind is an indispensable 
factor in the making of a people is suggested by the fact that 
no great peoples have been without it, and those like the He- 
brews and Greeks, whose world contributions have been most 
illustrious, have had festivals most expressive of their peculiar 
national genius. And if we care to go farther back we find 
credited to the folk festival the origin of language, music and 
poetry — those cultural joy-inspiring powers and possessions 
that made the race human. 

Before Christianity there were the midwinter holidays ex- 
pressive of the joy of returning warmth and longer days ; and 
Easter, too, celebrating the fresh glow of life in grass and 
tree ; and Thanksgiving and Harvest Home, as a grateful rec- 
ognition of accumulated Winter store. Christianity could only 

316 F. G. Young 

enrich the meaning with which these were already fraught. The 
heart of man of the Western races expresses his responsive 
glow in them. As a nation, we have our Lincoln and Wash- 
ington birthdays, our Memorial day and Fourth of July to 
appeal to the best in us. But in this Pacific Northwest there 
are traditions peculiar and environment that is unique. 

These antecedents and these resources entrusted to us in- 
volve rare advantages and responsibilities. A Pacific North- 
west folk festival would serve as a conscious, collective and 
joyful espousal of them. It is only as a community "gets onto 
itself by "getting onto" what is significant in its past that it is 
able "to get onto its job." 

This Western land has been the scene of great improve- 
ments that have left their impress upon the character of its 
people and have given them their cue and inspiration and even 
here and now as great or greater movements are in progress. 

The folk festival in illuminating the past, in doing over 
before our eyes the things that inspire, would give us our 
bearings and the spirit with which to meet the issues of the 
present and future. Each dweller within our borders, having 
experienced such a festival occasion, would return to his little 
round of duty enlightened and sustained, with a clearer vision 
of the growing whole of which he is an integral factor. This 
consciousness would be as an inner well-spring of peace, con- 
tentment and joy, giving strength and purpose. 

Our history thus utilized would become vital, revealing our 
essential self as a community. The complex social process in 
which now we are dazed and confused would become visualized. 
We could each and all then find our ways and take the courses 
that lead to the up-building of the community. 

In a crude way the following illustrates some of the ma- 
terial from which the Northwest may draw for its folk festival : 

First — Did not this realm for centuries lie in the shadow 
of the unknown, as venturesome European mariners were 
moving all around it, peering wistfully for the water passage 
to the Orient? 

Folk Festival in Rose Festival 317 

Second — Was not this "Far West" held up as a prize for 
some three centuries, and did not vaHant representatives of 
Spain, France, Russia and England enter the lists for the 
winning of it only to be worsted by those hailing from the most 
youthful member in the family of nations? 

Third — Did we not have set up here a veritable feudal 
regime for the exploitation of its resources in fur-bearing ani- 

Fourth — Of the pioneer era of Oregon too much cannot be 
made. The pioneer conditions of no other people have so 
much of the dramatic in them. Those annual incoming migra- 
tions at the end of a long Summer's trek across a continental 
waste always will be surcharged with interest. 

Fifth — The long decades, with the problem of remote and 
virtually inaccessible markets, were periods of blight and the 
relief afforded by the arrival of the transcontinental railways 
was most joyful. 

Sixth — There has been the unique in the development of 
our grazing, our grain and our fruit industries that challenges 

Seventh — Now our almost untouched forestry andi power 
resources glitter in the eyes of the people of the Nation at large. 

Eighth — Our isolated and remote pioneer situation naturally 
selected the daring and resolute for our population. This dom- 
inant temperament of our people almost inevitably exhibited 
itself in venturesome social experiments with pure democracy, 
political equality and along all lines of social betterment legis- 

The above listed epochs indicate poorly some of the inci- 
dents and situations that call for the work of the poetic im- 
agination for personification and dramatic setting. Annual 
folk festivals would become the grand medium for interpreting 
all and getting all into the consciousness of our people to equip 
them as masters of their destiny here. 

F. G. Young. 



Oroanized December 17, 1898 

FREDERICK V. HOLMAN ..... Prcldent 

JOSEPH R. WILSON ..... yUe-Praldtnl 

F.G.YOUNG - - - - - - Secniarv 

EDWARD COOKINGHAM ..... Treatarer 

GEORGE H. HIMES. Auiaant Stcrtiarv. 




Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1913 

Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1914. 

Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1915. 

Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1916. 

The Qaarierlu i» »«nl free lo all membcra of the Society. The annual dues are two doUan. 
The fee for life memberthip ii twenty-five doUan. 

Conlributioni lo The Quarterlu and coneipondence relative to hutorical materials, oi pertainias 
to the affairi of thii Society, ihould be addressed to 



Eugene, Orecoa. 

Subecriptions foi The Quarterlu, or for the other pubKcationi of the Society, should be t«ol to 


Assistant Sectetary, 
203-207 Second Street, Pottlond, On«oB. 



o{ the 

Oregon Historical Society 

Volume XIV 



Copyright, 191 3, by Oreflon Hiitorical Society 
The QuAitedy diMyowt reipoiuibility (oi the potitioiu taken by contributon to in pa«ei 



FRED LCX:KLEY— ReminiscencM of Captain William P. Gaiy - 321-354 

GEORGE H. HIMES— Butr Osborn. Survivor of Howison Expedition 

to Oregon in 1846 - - 355-365 

T. C. ELLIOTT — Joiunal of Alexander Rots, Snake Country Expedition 366-388 

Entered at the poit office al Portland, Oregon, ca second-clau maUtf 



o( the 

Oregon Historical Society 


Copyrighl, 191 3. by Oreson Historical Society 
The Quarterly (Ksavows retponiibility for the position* taken by contribulon to iu paaes 


By Fred Lockley 

"My father, W. H. Gray, came to Oregon in 1836," said 
Captain William P. Gray, of Pasco. "I was born in Oregon 
City in 1845. My father named me William Polk Gray. I 
remember when I was about four or five years old some one 
asked my father what my middle initial stood for. Father said, 
'I named: him after President Polk. When I named him the 
president had taken a strong stand on 54-40 or fight. Polk 
reversed his attitude on that question and I have been sorry 
I called my boy after him ever since. Sometimes I have a 
notion to wring the youngster's neck, I am so disgusted with 
President Polk.' I was about five years old, and when I heard 
my father say that he sometimes had a notion to wring my 
neck, it scared me pretty badly. My father was a man who 
usually meant what he said and always did what he said he 
was going to do, so every time I saw him look stern I ran like 
a rabbit and hid, for fear he might be about to wring my neck. 

"My father was one of the early day expansionists. He was 
really the prime mover and originator oi the agitation for 
making Oregon American territory. He got one or two others 
together and first discussed the advisability of holding the 
Wolf meeting that led to the movement to orgahize the pro- 
visional government at Champoeg on May 2, 1843. 

322 Fred Lockley 

"He was greatly in favor of our owning not only Alaska, but 
all of Canada. He thought the United States should take in 
all the continent of North America. When Secretary Seward 
went up to Alaska he took my father with him, on account of 
father's familiarity with the Indian customs and languages. 

"Father came back from Alaska greatly impressed with 
Seward's statesmanship. He said Seward was a high type of 
American. At that time Thomas Nast and others were car- 
tooning Seward and showing Alaska as an iceberg with a 
solitary polar bear guarding it. I remember hearing father 
say when some one criticized Seward's purchase of Alaska: 
The only criticism I have to make of Seward's purchase of 
Alaska is that he didn't also buy British Columbia at the same 

"I guess few families are more typically western than our 
family. My oldest brother, John Henry Dix Gray, was bom 
in 1839 at Lapwai, while father was building the mission, build- 
ings there for Dr. Spalding. 

"The next child, my sister, Mrs. Caroline A. Kamm, now of 
Portland, was born at Whitman mission when father was 
building the flour mill for Dr. Whitman. Father was one 
of the most resourceful men I ever saw. If he wanted to 
make something and had no tools, he would make the tools 
and then go ahead and make what he wanted. After he had 
built the mill for Dr. Whitman, though he had never in his 
life attempted making mill stones, he quarried them out suc- 
cessfully, shaped them up and installed them. 

"My father's father died when my father was only eight years 
old. His older brother was a Presbyterian minister. He 
bound out my father to a cabinet maker. 

"The next child to be born was Mary Sophia, who later be- 
came Mrs. Frank Tarbell. She also was born at Whitman 
station, and died in Portland in 1895. Her husband at one 
time was the treasurer of Washington Territory. 

"The next child to be born was Sarah Fidelia, who married 
Governor Abernethy's son. She was born at Salem when 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 323 

father was organizing the Oregon Institute. Mr. and Mrs. 
Abernethy are now living at Forest Grove. 

"My father took up a donation land claim where the town of 
Salem now stands, but traded it to J. L. Parrish for a location 
on Clatsop Plains not far from Astoria. 

"I was the next child to be born, being born in Oregon City 
in 1845. 

"The next child, Albert Williams Gray, was born on their 
Clatsop Plains farm. He is now captain of a steamboat on the 
lower Columbia. 

"The next boy was Edwin Hall, who died when he was 
eight years old, and the next child, Truman Powers, died 
when he was two years old. 

"The next child, James T. Gray, now has charge of the 
Tanana division in Alaska for the Northern Navigation Com- 
pany. He married General O. O. Howard's daughter, Grace. 
Their home is near Milwaukie. 

"When I was four years old we were living at Clatsop Plains, 
so my father decided I had better go to school. I had to walk 
two miles each morning and night to school. My first teacher 
was Miss Rebecca Ketchum. I went to this school for two or 
three terms. 

"When we were at Clatsop Plains the first Presbyterian 
church in that whole district was organized at our house. 
After the church was organized one of the people there donated 
the ground and my father built the first church in Clatsop 

"When I was eight years old my parents moved to Astoria. 
I went to school there to a Scotchman named Sutherland. The 
only part of the Bible that he knew well was the part where it 
says, Tf you spare the rod, you will spoil the child.' There 
was no danger of any of us getting spoiled, for he put in the 
major part of his time using the rod. 

"Our next teacher was Miss Lincoln, who later married 
Judge A. A. Skinner. 

"When I was ten years old, I took my first contract. Father 
had a theory that it was a pretty good scheme for his boys to 

324 Fred Lockley 

get to work as early as possible and as a matter of fact, we 
never had much time to get into mischief. General John Adair, 
the collector of customs, had enough pull to move the custom 
house and the postoffice to upper Astoria. Lower Astoria 
had the sawmill, the stores and the bulk of the population. 

"Dr. C. J. Trenchard fixed up a subscription paper and I went 
around to all of the stores and residences of lower Astoria and 
got the people to agree to pay me to deliver their mail before 
I said anything to my father about it. I was to go twice a week 
for the river mail and make two extra trips a month for the 
steamer mail that came from California and brought the mail 
from the East. The stores paid from 75 cents to $1.50 a month, 
while the private individuals paid 25 to 50 cents a month. I 
guess that was about the first city mail delivery in Oregon, 
as that was back in 1855, I started for the mail in the morning, 
summer and winter, at 5 :30 o'clock. It kept me busy until 
school time distributing it. I often had from twenty-five to 
forty pounds of mail, and for a ten-year-old boy, climbing 
around the cliffs, that was a pretty good load. How I used 
to hate the people who took papers. Some of them took bulky 
papers, and to bring four or five bulky papers to some one, and 
only get 25 cents a month for it, I thought was pretty tough. 
I made from $30 to $35 a month. My mother wanted me to 
save my money. Father said, 'It is Willy's money. Let him 
spend it as he pleases. He will have to learn for himself.' 
Peaches in those days were ten cents and oranges 25 cents 
apiece, and I was the most popular boy in school with all of 
the big girls. I never was much of a hand at saving, and 
when a pretty girl or two or three of them wanted oranges, 
and I had the money, they generally got the oranges. 

"When I was 13 years old we moved to British Columbia. 
This was in 1858. I began working with canoes and bateaux 
on the Fraser river. A good many people got drowned on the 
Fraser river, as it is a dangerous stream, but father used to 
say that danger was all in a day's work, and one must take what 
comes. We ran from Hope to Yale. Father was an expert 
woodworker, having learned the cabinet maker's trade, and 
I worked with him in the building of sloops and river boats. 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 325 

"In the summer of 1860 we crossed the mountains to the 
Similkameen river to prospect for gold. We found gold on 
the south fork. Father built two rockers, and for the next two 
months we kept busy. At the end of that time our supplies 
were running very short. I was 13 years old, and father de- 
cided I was old enough to assume responsibility, so he sent 
me to Fort Hope to secure supplies. There was only an Indian 
trail, but I knew the general direction. I had to ford streams 
and cross rivers, but I had learned to swim when I was 8 years 
old, so that didn't bother me. As we were short of provisions, I 
only took two sandwiches, thinking I could make the 140 miles 
within two days. I had a good riding horse, and I was going 
to ride from daylight to dark. I had not gone over 20 miles 
when a rather hard character in that country called 'Big Jim' 
met me in the trail. He stopped me and said, 'Have you got 
anything to eat ?' I told him I only had two sandwiches. He 
said, 'I haven't had anything to eat for two days. Hana mc 
those sandwiches.' I looked at him and concluded that it was 
safest to give him the sandwiches. He bolted them down, and 
grumbled because I had no more. He was on his way out to 
Fort Hope, but his horse was almost worn out. I wanted to 
go by, but he wouldn't let me. He said, 'Oh, no you don't — 
we will stay together for company. Your horse is a good deal 
fresher than mine, and I may need him.' 

"As we made our way across a high cliff, his horse lost its 
balance and fell, striking the rocks more than 200 feet below. 
He made me get off my horse and mounted mine. We rode 
and tied from there on in to Fort Hope. It took us four and 
a half days, and all we had to eat during that time was a fool- 
hen that he knocked down. My clothes were almost torn to 

"When I got home, I went in the back door. My mother 
saw me. She raised her hands above her head and said, 'Oh, 
Willie, what has happened to your father?' I told her my 
father was all right, but I was nearly starved. I secured two 
horses and loaded them with bacon and beans, rice and other 

326 Fred Lockley 

supplies, and started back for our camp. When some pros- 
pectors in town learned that we were making $10 a day to the 
man, they followed me to our camp. 

"When I returned father thought that he could strike richer 
diggings, so he left a man and myself to work with the rockers 
while he went down to Rock Creek, now the site of Roslyn, B. 
C. I averaged $8 a day while father was gone. The bedrock 
was a white clay. We threw the clay out on the tailings. A 
few years later some Chinamen came to our old abandoned 
diggings and made $15 to $20 a day apiece from our old clay 
tailings. The clay had rolled back and forth in our rockers 
and the gold had stuck to it. When it had weathered and 
disintegrated the gold was released and the clay washed away 
in the Chinamen's sluice boxes. 

"While father was on his trip he looked over the country, 
and decided to locate on Asoyoos Lake, at the head of the 
Okanogan River, across the British Columbia border in Amer- 
ican territory. He went back to Fort Hope, and, securing 
riding horses and pack horses, my father and mother, my two 
sisters and two brothers and myself started for our new home. 
This was in October, and winter had begun. We traveled day 
after day through the rain or snow, camping at night, usually 
in the snow. Timber was scarce where father had selected his 
ranch, so we hauled logs down the mountains, split them and 
built our cabin by standing the split logs on end. We chinked 
the cracks with moss and mud. 

"After looking over the ranch more carefully, father found 
that it M'as not as good as he had thought, so he decided to 
build a boat, go down the Okanogan and Columbia river to 
Deschutes Falls, now called Celilo, and bring supplies up the 
river for the miners. We had practically no tools, and of 
course no nails. We went into the mountains, whipsawed out 
the lumber, hauled it down to the water, and father, with the 
help of us boys, built a boat, fastening it together with trun- 
nels or wooden pegs. We could have secured nails possibly, 
but the freight from Fort Hope was $1 a pound, and father 
decided that the wooden pegs would do equally well. We built 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 327 

a boat 91 feet long with 12-foot beam, drawing empty 12 inches 
of water. The next thing was caulking her, but I never saw 
my father stumped yet. He hunted around and found a big 
patch of wild flax. He had the children pick this and break it 
to use as oakum to caulk the cracks in the boat. We also hunted 
all through the timber and found gum in the trees, which we 
melted up for pitch to be used in the caulking. He had no 
canvas for sails, so he made some large sweeps. Father chris- 
tened her the Sarah F. Gray, for my youngest sister. He 
launched her on May 2, 1861, and started on his trip down the 
river on May 10. 

"To give you an idea of the determination of my father, he 
sent that boat, without machinery, sails or other equipment ex- 
cept the sweeps, through the Rock Island rapids and through the 
Priest rapids, both of which he negotiated successfully. He 
arrived on the Deschutes on May 23. He left me to bring the 
family down, and I certainly had a very exciting time doing so. 

"Father left Asoyoos Lake, at the head of the Okanogan 
river, with the boat we had built there, for his dangerous trip 
through the Rock Island rapids and the Priest rapids, on May 
10, 1861. 

"A. J. Kane had joined our family to go with us from our 
ranch to The Dalles. My mother, sisters and brothers, with 
Mr. Kane and myself, started July 4, 1861. The first day out 
Mr. Kane's horse became restive and threw him against the 
saddle horn, rupturing him badly. We bound him up, but for 
the rest of the trip he could hardly ride and was practically 
helpless. This threw the responsibility of bringing the family 
through safely on me, but I was 16 years old and felt quite 
equal to it. 

"We swam the Columbia at the mouth of the Okanogan, 
came through the Grand Coulee and arrived at what is now 
White Bluffs. We planned to go to The Dalles by way of 
the Yakima and Simcoe valleys. We crossed the Columbia 
and camped on the Yakima side. That night a cattleman came 
to our camp. He said that a man and his wife had just been 
killed at Moxee Springs the night before and that it would be 

328 Fred Lockley 

almost certain death for us to go by way of the Yakima and 
Simcoe valleys. We at once recrossed the Columbia and 
started down the east bank. We camped opposite the mouth 
of the Yakima. 

"During the day we had met a couple of prospectors who 
warned us to look out for the Indians at the mouth of the 
Snake river. The Indians had charged them $20 to take them 
across in a canoe, while the three horses swam the river. 

"That night I staked my riding horse as usual, near camp, 
and turned the others loose to graze, knowing that they would 
not wander away. During the night the Snake River Indians 
drove our horses off. We were stranded with my one saddle 
horse and no way of continuing our journey unless I could 
recover the horses. Mr. Kane, the only man in the party, was 
helpless with his injury. My mother was greatly alarmed, but 
she realized as I did that the only thing to do was to follow 
the trail of the stolen horses and try to get them back. 

"I followed their trail for 12 miles, when the trail was cov- 
ered by the tracks of several hundred Indian horses. I fol- 
lowed the new trail to near where Pasco now stands. There 
was a big Indian camp with many tepees near the river. I 
rode up to the big tent where I heard the tom-tom and the 
sound of Indians dancing. 

"Some years before General Wright had inflicted severe 
punishment upon the Indians by killing a large band of their 
horses. On the spur of the moment I decided to put on a bold 
front and demand the return of my horses. I rode up to the 
tent, dismounted, threw the tepee flap back and stepped into 
the entrance. The Indians stopped dancing and looked intently 
at me. I talked the Chinook jargon as well as I did English, 
so I said, 'Some of you Indians have stolen my horses last 
night. If they are not back in my camp an hour after I get 
there I'll see that every horse in your band is shot.' There was 
utter silence. 

"I dropped the flap of the tent, mounted my horse and started 
back for camp. I had not gone far when I heard the thud of 
running horses. Four Indians were plying the quirt, riding 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 329 

after me. They were whooping- and howling and just before 
they got to me they divided, two going on each side. I never 
looked around. One of the Indians rode his horse square 
across the trail in front of me. I spurred my horse and raised 
my quirt. The Indian gave way, and I rode on. I knew the 
Indian character well enough to know that the only way I 
could carry my bluff out was by appearing perfectly fearless. 

"When I got back to camp my mother was crying and said 
she had been praying for me all the time I was gone. I had 
started out for the horses without breakfast and had ridden 
over 30 miles, so I was pretty hungry. As I sat down to my 
delayed breakfast we heard the thud of running horses and our 
horses charged into camp covered with lather. I hurried out, 
caught the horses and staked them, came back, finished my meal 
and then saddled up, packed the pack horses and went down 
to the mouth of the Snake river. I again rode up to the large 
tent, opened the flap and said in Chinook, T want one canoe 
for my women and children to go to Wallula and three canoes 
to swim my horses across. You have delayed us by driving 
my horses off, so I want you to hurry.' The Indians looked 
as impassive as wooden statues. One of the chiefs gave some 
command to the others. Several of the younger men got up, 
went down to the water and got out the canoes. My mother 
and the children got in and the Indians put in our packs to 
take to Wallula, 11 miles distant. My brother Albert went in 
one canoe and I went in the other, while one of the Indians 
went into the third canoe, and we swam our horses across the 
river. When I got to the other side I said to the Indian in 
charge, 'How much?' He answered, 'What you think?' I 
handed him $5, which he took without a word, got into the 
canoe and started back. Albert and I rode on toward Wallula, 
where we arrived at 10 o'clock that night and rejoined the 
rest of the family. 

"Having brought my mother and the children to Wallula, 
on horseback from Asoyoos Lake, I put them aboard the steamer 
Tenino in charge of Captain Leonard White, and they pro- 
ceeded to Portland. 

330 Fred Lockley 

"I stayed at Fort Wallula, living in the adobe fort. I herded 
stock for J. M. Vansyckle until father returned from the 
Snake river. Father had gone to Deschutes in the Sarah F. 
Gray, the boat he had built on the Okanogan, with the idea 
of securing some machinery for her. He found, however, that 
he was unable to raise the money to purchase the machinery, 
so he rigged her with a mast and sail and secured a load for 
the nearest landing to the newly discovered mines at Oro Fino. 

"The nearest point by boat to the new mines was the mouth 
of the Clearwater, now the site of the city of Lewiston, Idaho. 
On father's return on board the Sarah F. Gray, I joined him 
at Wallula and we went to Deschutes, a point which at that 
time seemed to have the making of a city but which is now 
merely a memory. I stayed in charge of the boat while father 
went to Portland to secure a cargo for Lewiston. It was now 
late in the summer and the rumor had gone about among the 
merchants that it was impossible to navigate the Snake river, 
even by small boats. Father was unable to secure a cargo. As 
you know, my father was a very determined man and if he 
once set out to do a thing he would not stop short of its ac- 
complishment. He had decided to take a cargo of goods to 
the mines and if the merchants would not give him the freight, 
he determined to take a cargo of his own. He mortgaged his 
horses, his Astoria property and his boat and with the assist- 
ance of personal friends who advanced him money, he bought 
a stock of goods for the mines. 

"The goods were shipped to the Cascades, hauled around 
the Cascades by the portage tramway on the Oregon side, 
reshipped to The Dalles and from The Dalles hauled to Des- 
chutes by wagon. We were loaded and ready to leave Des- 
chutes in the latter part of August. We arrived at Wallula 
on September 15. When we got to Wallula our entire crew 
deserted. They declared it was too dangerous to attempt to 
navigate the Snake river. 

"Father finally secured a new crew of seven men and on 
September 20, 1861, we left Wallula. It took us three days 
to reach the mouth of the Snake river, a distance of only 11 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 331 

miles. The prevailing winds were directly across the current, 
so that it was necessary for us to oordell the boat almost the 
entire way. 

"Another boy and myself took ropes in a skifif up the stream, 
found a place where the rope could be made fast. We would 
then come down stream bringing the rope to our boat where the 
rope was made fast to the capstan and the rope would be slowly 
wound up. We had a difficult trip to Lewiston and before we 
got there my comrade and myself in the skiff had demonstrated 
that there was not a single rapid in the Snake river that could 
not be swum. We were both strong swimmers and perfectly 
at home in the water. Our boat was overturned in the rapids 
scores of times in cordelling up to Lewiston. Our skiff was 
small and we had to carry a full coil of rope an inch and a 
half in diameter as well as a coil of smaller rope and oftentimes 
when the line was wet we had a bare two inches of free board 
to go through the rapids in. Not content with being wet all 
day long and being tipped out of our skiff, Jim Parker, my 
comrade, and I would dare each other to swim dangerous 
places in the river. 

"Jim Parker was from Parker's Landing where Washougal, 
Wash., now is, and like myself, was raised on the water. I 
remember one place in the five mile rapids that was not only 
very dangerous but it seemed impossible for us to find a place 
to make a fastening. My father thought we could find some 
rock in mid-current to which we could attach the rope. I said, 
'It can't be done.' Father turned to me and said, 'My son, 
can't isn't in my dictionary. Anything can be done if you want 
to do it badly enough.' I told him the rapids were full of 
whirlpools and that we would certainly be overturned in making 
the attempt to make a fastening. He said, 'If you are over- 
turned, you and the skiff will both come downstream. You 
may not come down together, but you will both come down. 
You will then go back and make another attempt and continue 
to do so until you have succeeded. 

"After that experience there never has been any combination 
of wood, iron or water that has ever scared me, though I will 
acknowledge I was scared upon that particular occasion. 

332 Fred Lockley 

"We took the rope up and succeeded in getting a loop over 
a rock. No sooner had we done so than the skiff was caught, 
dashed against a rock nearby, overturned and Jim and I were 
in the water. We went through that rapid at a terrific rate, 
sometimes under water, sometimes on top. We finally got 
through, swam to the overturned skiff and succeeded in get- 
ting back to the boat. We had fastened a piece of wood to 
the end of the line so that it floated down the river. We clam- 
bered aboard the boat, chilled through and pretty badly scared. 
Father said, 'Where are you going?' I told him I was going 
to get some dry clothes on. He said, 'There will be time enough 
for that when you have gone and secured the end of the line.' 
So Jim and I got into the skiff again, recovered the end of the 
line and brought it to the boat. 

"It was October 30 when we finally arrived at Lewiston. 
Many a time on the trip up I had been so worried I didn't know 
what to do, for fear that we would wreck the Sarah F. Gray, 
for we took some desperate chances and I knew that if it was 
wrecked my father would not only lose his boat but he would 
lose all of his property and be in debt to his friends. 

"Provisions were getting short in the mines and father sold 
his flour for $25 a sack or 50 cents a pound. Beans also brought 
50 cents a pound. Blankets were eagerly bought at $25 a pair 
and we sold all of our bacon at 60 cents a pound. Father had 
made a very profitable voyage and had not only carried out his 
plan but came out with a handsome profit. 

"We left Lewiston on November 2 with several passengers, 
and came down the river to Deschutes in seven days. 

"I spent the winter of 1861-2 in Portland. I attended public 
school in Portland that winter. The school was located where 
the Portland Hotel now stands. Professor George F. Boynton 
was the principal. 

"The winter of 1861-62 was one of the most severe the west 
has ever seen. The Willamette was frozen over at Portland 
so that teams could cross on the ice between Portland and East 
Portland, and of course the mule ferry was out of commis- 
sion. Possibly an adventure I had that winter on the Willam- 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 333 

ette helped to impress the severity of the winter upon my mem- 
ory. My brother, J. H. D. Gray, and my cousin, P. C. Schuyler, 
and myself were skating- on the river at what was called Clinton 
Point in those days. It is just about where the new O.-W. R. 
& N. steel bridge crosses the river now. We were playing tag 
and I took a short-cut across the thin ice near an airhole. My 
skates cut through, tripped me and down I went into the water. 
The thermometer was standing at about zero. My brother 
and my cousin could not come near me on account of also 
breaking through the thin ice. I finally broke the thin ice with 
my fist until I got to where the ice was so thick I could not 
break it. My brother and cousin lay down, one holding the 
other and tying the sleeves of their coats together, threw me one 
end. I caught the end of the coat sleeve and they pulled me 
out. The instant the air struck me my clothing froze and by 
the time I had got to the river bank near Ankeny's dock my 
trousers were frozen stifif, and when I bent my knees my 
trousers broke ofif at the knee. I walked to the corner of 
Third and B streets (now Burnside), where we lived, and got 
thawed out. 

"Portland in those days was a pretty small town, all of the 
business being on the streets near the river. Mr. Robert Pittock 
had a store on First street, between A and B streets (Ankeny 
and Burnside), where we traded. 

"I had to quit school in April of 1862, as father needed my 
help on the river. We began boating, carrying freight between 
Deschutes and Wallula, operating our boat by sail. There 
were several other competing sailboats, steamboats at that 
time not being very numerous. After making a few trips 
father decided he would build a steamboat. He picked out 
Columbus, on the Washington side, a few miles above Celilo, 
as the best point at which to build his boat. The reason he 
picked out Columbus was that it was the landing for the entire 
Klickitat valley, and it was the point through which all of the 
pine timber growing on the Simcoe mountains came to the river. 

'T was sixteen years old at this time and father wanted some- 
one who knew the river and some one whom he could trust 

334 Fred Lockley 

to take charge of the Sarah F. Gray, our sailboat. He put me 
in charge. In the latter part of June he sold the boat, but the 
purchasers, Whittingham & Co., of Wallula, stipulated that I 
must remain in charge of the boat or they would not buy it. 
Father told them he needed my help to build a boat, but they 
insisted and told him they would pay me $150 a month for 
my services. 

"They told me that what they wanted was to make as 
many trips as possible while the prevailing winds were good. 
They gave me a mate, two deckhands and a cook. They paid 
big wages, paying my father $150 for my services, paying the 
mate $90, the cook $75 and the deckhands $60 a month each. 

"This was the first boat that I ever had command of and you 
can imagine how anxious I was to make a record. During the 
month of July I didn't get very much sleep, as I was on deck to 
take every advantage of the coast breeze which swept up the 
Columbia. During the month of July I made five round trips 
between Deschutes and Wallula, which was not only a record 
up to that time, but has never been broken by sailboats on the 
river since. I took up from 25 to 28 tons each trip. We had 
the boat in operation for the full 24 hours each day. Father 
had sold the boat for $1200. Not only did I take advantage of 
the wind by night or day, but I rigged up a water sail to 
help us drift down the river with the current against the up- 
river wind. In that one month that boat not only paid the 
wages of myself and all the crew, but cleared in addition more 
than the price of the boat. 

"To give you an idea of what we did to make five round trips 
within a month, I not only personally took charge of the boat 
at every bad rapid we came to, either by day or night, but 
I crowded on all sail, even when more cautious captains were 
reefing their sails. Three times during the month I had my 
main boom carried away. The crew soon were inspired by my 
enthusiasm and worked just as hard as I did to make a record, 

"In the early part of August the coast breeze failed us entire- 
ly and we came pretty near making a record for the slowness of 
a trip. It took us 39 days to make one trip. Father was 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 335 

anxious for me to join him and hurry forward the work of 
building the Cascadilla, and after running the sloop for five 
months the owners laid it up for the rest of the season and I 
joined father and helped finish the Cascadilla. She was 110 
feet long, 18 foot beam and drew 20 inches. 

"Our family moved from Portland to The Dalles in the fall 
of 1862. We lived in The Dalles that winter. Father launched 
his steamboat, the Cascadilla, in December, 1862. Next spring 
we took the Cascadilla up to Lewiston, plying on the Clear- 
water and the Snake rivers. We carried wood from Lapwai and 
lumber from Asotin to Lewiston. 

"That spring father had trouble with A. Kimmell, his purser. 
He found the purser was not turning in all the money. Father 
put him off the boat and told him what he thought of men who 
were crooked. What he told him was plenty. Shortly after 
the purser had been put ashore, we were laid up cleaning the 
boilers. The Cascadilla was a half deck boat. Father was 
lying on his back on a pile of cordwood repairing the steering 
wheel ropes. I was in the cabin aft. Looking out I saw Kim- 
mell take an axe from the wood block and start towards father, 
whose head was toward him. Father had both hands in the 
air splicing a rope. Kimmell drew back the axe and as he 
brought it down to split father's head open, I jumped for him. 
I had no time to do anything but to launch myself at him. I 
struck him like a battering ram in the back and shoulders. The 
axe's blow was deflected and the axe missed father's head. 
It also overbalanced Kimmell and he fell overboard. Kim- 
mell, wild with anger, clambered ashore, pulled a pistol from 
his pocket and began shooting at us. The first shot he fired 
struck me in the hand, cutting the flesh on my third and fourth 
fingers. The second shot struck me in the foot. I did the only 
thing possible under the circumstances. I ran down the gang- 
plank and stooping, I picked up several rocks and threw them 
at him as I closed in on him. By good fortune I hit him with 
one of the rocks, in the stomach, and knocked him breathless. 
He grabbed his stomach with both hands. I closed in on him 
and hit him in the chin. The blow knocked him down and I 

336 Fred Lockley 

took the pistol away. Some of the crew came ashore, tied 
him up and turned him over to the authorities at The Dalles. 

'Tather was always a peaceful man when it came to the law. 
He said he was able to settle his own troubles. When the trial 
came, father refused to appear against him, so he was turned 

"Kimmell bought a sailboat. It got loose from the bank at 
Celilo and went over the falls. Kimmell could have gotten 
ashore, but he had money in the cabin and while trying to re- 
cover the money the boat went over the falls and Kimmell 
was drowned, 

"Father sold the Cascadilla in the summer of 1864. 

"I went on the river as a cub pilot with Captain Charles 
Felton on the steamer Yakima. At that time, the steamer 
Yakima was the most palatial boat on the river. It plied be- 
tween Celilo and Lewiston. Umatilla Landing, which had been 
started by Z. F. Moody, was growing rapidly. There was an 
active demand for lumber which sold for $55 a thousand. 
Alonzo Leland, with a man named Atwood, owned a sawmill 
10 miles from Asotin. He could find no market for his lum- 
ber. It was worth only $15 per thousand at Lewiston, while 
if he could deliver his lumber at Umatilla he could readily 
sell all he could deliver at $55 a thousand. This market was 
worth trying for. They tried repeatedly rafting the lumber 
down the Snake river, but each time the raft was broken up 
in the rapids, and the lumber was a total loss. As we were 
going up the river Atwood hailed me from what is now called 
Atwood's Island. He had landed there with a raft in the at- 
tempt to go down the river. We took Mr. Atwood and the 
crew aboard. We asked him how he had happened to come 
to grief. Atwood said, 'It is impossible to raft lumber down 
the Snake. We will have to give it up. We have never 
succeeded in taking a raft down yet.' He turned to me for 
confirmation of his statement. I said, 'You can take a raft 
through all right if you will get the right man.' He said, 'Can 
you take one down?' I told him that I could. He made no 
comment of any kind but turned on his heel and went below. 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 337 

About half an hour later he came up to the pilot house and said, 
'I am willing- to risk the loss of another raft if you will agree 
to take it down. If we can once get a raft down the Snake 
river and get it to Umatilla Landing it will pay for the loss of 
all the others.' I told him I was willing to take charge of the 
raft but I doubted whether Captain Felton would let me go. 
He said he thought he could arrange it with Captain Felton, as 
he knew him well. 

"He said, 'I realize it is dangerous work. Tell me what you 
are going to charge me.' I told him I would charge $10 a day 
while running the raft and $5 a day for any time we had to 
lay at the bank. He saw Captain Felton, who came to me 
and said he was anxious to accommodate Atwood, and he 
would spare me for a trip. 

"Atwood and I went to his mill at Asotin, where he built a 
raft containing 50,000 feet of lumber. ***** When 
we came to the big eddy above Lewiston (where Atwood had 
always had trouble, and had missed landing at that place with 
several rafts and as a consequence lost the lumber as there was 
no market farther down the river), I threw the raft into the 
center of the eddy. Atwood protested, believing that we cer- 
tainly would miss the Lewiston landing, but the raft returned 
up the eddy and shot out towards the Lewiston shore, his face 
was wreathed with smiles. 

"We took on 10,000 additional feet of lumber here. Next 
morning at 2 o'clock I cast loose and started down the river. 
Whenever we came to a rapid I sent the raft into the center 
of the rapid. The rapid would give the raft such impetus 
that it would carry us through the slack water. Atwood said, 
'The very thing we have been trying to avoid — getting the 
raft in the rapids, seems to be the reason for your success.' 
We were averaging nine miles an hour. I told him we would 
get along all right until we came to the Palouse rapids and 
we were going to have a serious time of it there. The water 
pours through a narrow chute and empties into the eddy, which 
boils back toward the current from the south shore. 

338 Fred Lockley 

"When we got to the Palouse rapids I sent the raft into the 
center of the rapids. The current was so swift it shot us into 
the eddy. The forward part of the raft went under water and 
the current from the chute caught the back end of the raft and 
sent the raft under water. We stayed on the raft until the 
water was up to our knees. The skiff which he had on the 
raft started to float off, but I caught the painter and we got 
aboard the skiff. We brought the skiff over where the raft 
had been and felt down with the oars but we could not touch 
the raft. 

"We floated down with the current. All I attempted to do 
was to keep the skiff in its course. Atwood said, 'I knew you 
couldn't do it. With such rapids as the Palouse it was fool- 
ish to expect we could.' I felt pretty serious for I was afraid 
the eddy had broken the fastenings on the raft and we would 
soon run into the wreckage of floating boards. About 
half a mile below the rapids our skiff was suddenly lifted out 
of the water by the reappearance of the raft. Our skiff and 
the raft had both gone with the current and, oddly enough, it 
had appeared directly under us, lifting the skiff out of the 
water. This may sound 'fishy', but it is a fact. 

"You never saw a man more surprised or delighted than 
Atwood, for the raft was uninjured. As a matter of fact, be- 
fore leaving, I had taken special pains to see that it was strongly 
fastened, for I knew what kind of treatment it would get in the 

"We went through the Pine Tree rapids without accident, 
but a little ways below there we struck a wind strongly up- 
stream, so we had to tie up. Next morning at 3 o'clock, just 
before daybreak, we started again, arriving at Wallula at 10 
o'clock in the forenoon. 

"The steamer Yakima was just pulling in from below. From 
Wallula to Umatilla was plain sailing, so I left Atwood to go 
the rest of the way alone and rejoined the Yakima. 

"In the past they had tried to manage the raft by side sweeps, 
while all I had used had been a steering oar at the rear. At- 
wood paid me $20 for carrying the raft successfully through 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 339 

the rapids. He told me that he would have beeii just as glad 
to pay me $500 if I had asked that much. This was the first 
lumber raft ever taken down the Snake river, but it was the 
forerunner of scores of other rafts. 

"For this lumber, which was worth only $900 at Lewiston, he 
got $3300 at Umatilla, or in other words, he made a profit of 
$2400 on the $20 investment in my services. 

"That, by the way, is a fair sample of my financial ability, 
but what could you expect of the son of parents who thought 
so little of money that they made a trip across the desert and 
gave up all prospect of financial returns, to become missionaries 
among the Indians with Dr. Whitman? An indifference, too, 
and a disregard for money is bred in my bone. 

"After working for three months as cub pilot with Captain 
Charles Felton on the steamer Yakima in the upper river, 
I secured a position as assistant pilot with the O. S. N. Com- 
pany. I was eighteen years old at the time. That summer — 
the summer of 186-4 — the Oregon Steam Navigation Company 
made an effort to take a steamboat up the Snake river canyon 
to ply on the upper waters of the Snake between Olds Ferry 
and Boise. Olds Ferry is just above where the present town 
of Huntington is located. 

"Boise in those days was a wonderfully prosperous mining 
camp. Olds Ferry was also a good point as most of the emi- 
grants crossed the Snake river by that ferry. The steamer 
Colonel Wright was selected to make the attempt and Captain 
Thomas J. Stump was chosen to take her through. I was as- 
signed to her as assistant pilot. Alphonso Boone was the mate. 
Peter Anderson was the chief engineer. John Anderson was 
the assistant engineer and my father, W. H. Gray, and J. M. 
Vansyckle, of Wallula, went along as passengers. We went 
up the river to about twenty-five miles above Salmon river. In 
attempting to make a dangerous eddy at this point, the boat 
was caught in a bad eddy, thrown into the current and upon 
a sharp rock reef jutting out from the Idaho shore. It carried 
away eight feet of her bow, keel and sides to the deck. Things 
looked desperate for a moment. Captain Stump gave an 

340 Fred Lockley 

order from the pilot house to get out a line on shore. 
You never saw such a universal willingness to get on 
shore with that line. Every deckhand, the mate, the 
chief engineer, the fireman and our two passengers, who were 
standing forward watching the boat, seized the line by both 
ends, the middle and wherever they could get a hold of it and 
jumped ashore. The only people left on the boat were Captain 
Stump and myself in the pilot house, the second engineer, who 
was below, and old Titus, the cook. Before they could make 
the line fast the boat was caught by the current and went 
down the river half a mile. Here Captain Stump succeeded in 
beaching her. We were joined here by the ambitious line- 
carriers who walked down the shore to where we were beached. 

"Captain Stump set the mate and crew to work to repair the 
forward bulkhead which had been strained and showed signs 
of leaking. While the boat was being worked upon. Captain 
Stump, Mr. Vansyckle, my father and myself crossed the 
river in a small boat and started to climb the hill in an effort 
to see what the back country was like. We expected to be 
back at the boat within two hours, but it was a steady climb of 
four hours before we reached the crest of the hill. It was just 
sun-down when we looked over into the beautiful Wallowa Val- 
ley. Darkness overtook us before we could go very far down 
the bluff. The rocky slopes were too dangerous to try in the 
dark, so we stayed all night long on the side hill without blank- 
ets or food. Father was an old campaigner, however, and he 
showed us how to sleep with our heads downhill resting on a 
rock. This prevented our working downhill while asleep. 
Natural inclination is to wiggle forward and the rock at our 
head prevented us going down hill and we could wiggle all we 
wanted up hill — we wouldn't wiggle very far. 

"When the bulkhead was finished, we ran back to Lewiston, 
covering the distance it had taken us four and a half days to 
come up, in three and a half hours. 

"In the summer of 1865, when I was 19 years old, I secured 
a job as watchman on the steamer John H. Couch, running 
from Astoria to Portland. I was young and ambitious, and 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 341 

did not like to complain. I had to sit up all night as watch- 
man, and then was made to work as a deckhand during the day. 
After a week or so of almost continuous night and day serv- 
ice, I finally rebelled and stretched myself out on the boiler 
and went to sleep. I was reported for being asleep while on 
duty. The captain had taken a dislike to me, so when he re- 
ported the matter Captain Ainsworth suggested that, in place 
of firing me, the captain had better take a vacation. It hap- 
pened that Captain Ainsworth was acquainted with the cir- 
cumstances through having asked some one else about it. Snow, 
the mate, was promoted to captain, and I was made mate. 

After being the mate of the John H. Couch for a short time, 
Captain Ainsworth sent for me and told me he wanted me to 
go on the upper river as a pilot. I could not leave the Couch 
without securing another man to take my place, so I hired a 
horse and rode to the Red House tannery near Milwaukie and 
secured Granville Reed to take my place as mate on the Couch. 
Later, both Snow and Reed became captains of river steamers 
and later branch pilots on the lower river between Portland 
and Astoria. I went to the upper river and acted as pilot on 
the boats plying between Celilo and Lewiston. I served as 
pilot on the Nez Perce Chief, the Owyhee, the Tenino, the 
Webfoot, the Spray, the Yakima and the Okanogan. 

"I stayed on the upper river as pilot until 1867, when I was 
engaged by Colonel R. S. Williamson, of the United States 
engineers, to act as captain of a sailboat employed by the gov- 
ernment in taking a party under Lieutenant W. H. Heuer to 
make a hydrostatic survey of the Columbia river rapids be- 
tween Celilo and the mouth of the Snake river. My duty was 
to navigate the boat, a 40-ton schooner, but at the very first 
rapids the men engaged in the hydrostatic survey, who were 
deep water sailors and who were unused to swift water, 
made so bungling a job of the work that I volunteered to take 
charge of the small boats in the swift water. I had been so 
accustomed to being tipped out of the boats and swimming out 
and taking all sorts of chances that the deep water men were 
scared nearly to death when I would make straight runs 
through the rapids or across dangerous places in the river. 

342 Fred Lockley 

"The government paid me $150 a month in gold. At this 
time greenbacks were worth Z7 cents on the dollar, so I was 
getting big wages for a boy. We surveyed that year as far as 
the Umatilla rapids. We did a job that I was proud of, too, 
for we made an accurate and thorough survey. 

"We laid up that winter. Next spring I ran on the U. S. 
Grant between Astoria and Fort Stevens and Canby, for my 
brother, J. H. D. Gray, who had shot his ramrod through his 
hand. An army surgeon named Sternberg, who was stationed 
at Walla Walla at that time, amputated his hand. There was 
no necessity whatever for doing so, but it was the easiest way 
to do it. Sternberg stayed with the army, and under the 
seniority rule, finally reached the position of chief surgeon. 

This accident to my brother incapacitated him for further 
service on the upper river in the opinion of the authorities 
of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company. They considered 
that it required a perfect body as well as mind to .guide steam- 
boats safely through the dangerous and intricate channels and 
rapids. J. H. D. Gray, however, was not the man to give up 
because of this physical handicap. He secured a contract in 
a short time to carry government supplies and mail between 
Astoria and Forts Stevens and Canby, oysters and mail from 
Shoalwater Bay, and purchased the steamer U. S. Grant for 
that purpose. Later he purchased the Varuna on Puget Sound 
and brought her around to Astoria. 

"After running the Varuna for a while, I was asked to take 
charge of the sail boat again and complete the government 
survey. We spent that summer and finished the survey to the 
upper end of Hummely rapids near Wallula. When the survey 
was completed I again went to work for the Oregon Steam 
Navigation Company on the upper river. After about a year 
or so on the upper river I went to Astoria, where I ran the 
Varuna, whose work was to take the mail and supplies to the 
forts at the mouth of the river. During the time I was there 
with my brothers, we made private surveys of the bar and 
piloted ships across the bar. One incident of this time I re- 
member very distinctly. We picked up a brig whose captain 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 343 

had been in the lig-hthouse service and who had surveyed 
the bar. 

"The channel was familiar to him but he was unfamiliar 
with the fact that the channel had changed a week before and 
that my brother and I had just surveyed the new channel in- 
side the breakers and just outside Sand island. We knew 
there were six feet here at low water. We started through 
this new channel with a long tow line on the brig. It was high 
tide and there was a strong east wind beginning to blow. 
Knowing it would be impossible to tow the brig up the main 
channel against the east wind on a strong ebb tide, I signaled 
to the pilot that I was going across the sands. I squared away 
for Cape Disappointment. Captain Sherwood, who was in 
charge of the brig, went down into the cabin, got his rifle and 
came on deck. He told the pilot that if that crazy fool on board 
the tug struck the brig on the sands he would never turn another 
wheel nor wreck another ship. It didn't give me a very com- 
fortable feeling to look across to the brig and see the captain 
with a rifle trained on me. He kept it pointed at me until we 
had crossed the sands and run up above Cape Disappointment 
and were safely anchored in Baker's bay. Then he sent me a 
handsome apology and complimented me on my seamanship. 

■T stayed on the lower river as a captain and pilot until 1873, 
when I engaged in business in Astoria. In July, 1875, Frank T. 
Dodge, who had been the purser on the upper river and was 
later agent of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company at The 
Dalles and who was later superintendent of the Portland water 
system, but who was at that time the superintendent of the 
Willamette Transportation & Locks Company, gave me a job 
with that company. My run was from Portland to Dayton on 
the Yamhill. I had charge of the old steamer Beaver, whose 
machinery had been brought from the Enterprise, which had 
been wrecked on the Umpqua bar. I later had charge of this 
same steamer, the Beaver, on the Stikeen river in Alaska. 
While on the Willamette river run I was captain of the Ori- 
ent, the Fannie Patton and the Governor Grover, the latter 
boat running from Portland to Corvallis. 

344 Fred Lockley 

"In 1877 I went to Victoria, B. C, as captain of the Beaver. 
I took the Beaver from Victoria to Fort Wrangel, Alaska. I 
ran on the Stikeen river between Fort Wrangel and Telegraph 
creek, a distance of 165 miles. 

"In the spring of 1878 I came back to the upper Columbia 
as captain of the Annie Faxon. I stayed on the upper river, 
having charge at different times of the John Gates, the Al- 
mota, the D. S. Baker, the Spokane and the Harvest Queen. 
The Harvest Queen had been built at Celilo a short while be- 
fore. She ran for three years on the upper river and then was 
taken over the Celilo falls by Captain James W. Troup, now 
general superintendent of the water lines of the Canadian Pa- 
cific. I know this is a feat requiring some skill, as I myself 
during the extra high water of 1866 took a sail boat over 
Celilo falls. 

"I was married on October 27, 1868, at Portland, Oregon. 
My wife's name was Oceana Falkland Bush. She was the 
adopted daughter of Mrs. Hawthorne, of Portland, a pioneer 
family after whom Hawthorne avenue and Hawthorne Park 
are named. 

"My wife was born on her father's brig, the 'Rising Sun,' 
just ofif of the Falkland Islands while on a voyage around 
the Horn. I met her for the first time at the celebration over 
the driving of the first spike in the Oregon and California 
railroad in East Portland, April 16, 1868. 

"I came down one trip and was staying at 'Muck-a-Muck' 
Smith's hotel, 'The Western,' on the corner of First and Mor- 
rison. In those days it was a high class hotel. Captain Ains- 
worth sent a messenger to find me with word to see him at once. 
The messenger located me at 10 o'clock in the forenoon. I 
went to see Captain Ainsworth and he offered me a much better 
position than I had, with a year's contract on a steamer on the 
upper river. 'You will have to go at once,' he said, 'as the 
steamer is waiting to make a trip and every day's delay means 
loss.' I told him that I would take the job, if I could have a 
couple of days, as I was planning to get married. 'You can 
have all of the rest of the day to get married in,' he said. 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 345 

"I went to the river to take the ferry. I happened to meet 
my wife's adopted mother, who had just come over. I told her 
that I was going- over to see Ocea and asked her to save me 
the trip by having Ocea get ready as soon as possible, so 
that we could be married that evening. She said it was im- 
possible. I told her I was used to doing the impossible and I 
would make all arrangements and be there that evening. The 
ferry quit running at 8 o'clock. I arranged with them to make 
an extra trip for us and promised them ten dollars an hour 
for whatever time it took after 8 o'clock. I hurried down town 
where I bought a wedding ring, hired the necessary cabs, se- 
cured a license, arranged with a preacher to be there and got 
Bob Bybee to stand up with me as best man. I went out to 
see how Ocea was getting along. I asked her if she was all 
ready to be married that night. I never saw any one more sur- 
prised. Her mother had thought it was a crazy notion of mine 
and decided not to tell Ocea anything about it. At first 
she said she couldn't possibly be married that night, but when 
I told her that the preacher would be there, the cabs were 
hired, the ferry would take us over and it would be very awk- 
ward to stop the proceedings, she decided we had better be 
married at once. She got Hannah Stone, who is now Mrs. Dr. 
Josephi, to act as bridesmaid. 

"I had worked all summer at $150 a month and I never have 
had any use for money except to spend it. I always look at it 
in the same light as the manna that the Israelites had in cross- 
ing the desert, 'that it will spoil if you keep it.' I gave the 
preacher twenty dollars for tying the knot. I gave each of the 
hack men a five dollar tip. I -saved enough money to pay our 
hotel bill and next morning we started at 5 o'clock on the 
steamer Wilson G. Hunt, for Celilo. When we got to The 
Dalles, I discovered I had just $2.50 left. The Umatilla House 
ran a free bus, but I didn't think it would look well for a newly 
married couple to go in the free bus, so I called a hackman and 
when he let us off at the Umatilla house, I gave him the $2.50. 
There I was with a new wife and absolutely not a cent in my 
pocket, but the absence of money has never bothered me any 

346 Fred Lockley 

more than the presence of it, so I signed the register and en- 
gaged a room at the Umatilla House for my wife at $60 a 

"I at once reported to my steamer and for the next year I 
plied on the upper river. 

"Thirty-three years ago the Northern Pacific R. R. Co. built 
a transfer boat to carry their cars across the Snake river at 
Ainsworth. They built a craft 200 feet long with 38 foot 
beam, having a square bow and stern, with a house 25 feet 
high and 165 feet long. They called the craft the Frederick 
Billings. Ten cars could be carried across at one time. Her 
huge house made her very unwieldy. When she had no load 
aboard she drew nothing forward and two and a half feet aft. 
She was a curiosity to all of the pilots and captains on the river. 
They commented on the ridiculous lines and the unnecessary 
deck house, 165 feet long. It was the consensus of opinion 
that it would be impossible to handle her in strong winds. No 
one was anxious to tackle the job. The very difficulty of 
handling such a Noah's ark of a boat appealed to me and I 
applied for the position, and was given the job before I could 
change my mind. 

"The boat took the cars from Ainsworth to South Ainsworth, 
where the Northern Pacific Snake river bridge is now located, 
about three miles from Pasco. The Billings had two 20-inch 
cylinders with a 10- foot stroke, and in spite of her unwieldiness, 
I have transferred as high as 213 cars in one day. The Snake 
river bridge was completed in 1884. I took the Billings to 
Celilo to be overhauled. It was planned to use her between 
Pasco and Kennewick. They gave me permission to make 
whatever alterations I though best, so I had her big deck house 
cut down and a small house put up just large enough to cover 
her pipes, boiler and engines. 

"While the Frederick Billings was being repaired, I made 
a recognizance of the Columbia river from the mouth of the 
Snake river to Rock Island rapids. In my report, which I 
sent to C. H. Prescott, president of the O. R. & N. Co., I said 
I thought it was possible to run a boat through the Rock Island 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 347 

rapids. My report was forwarded toi the chief of the board of 
engineers of the United States army. 

"I went up with the BilHngs and continued to run between 
Pasco and Kennewick, transferring freight and passenger cars 
until the Columbia river bridge was completed. 

"When I went to Pasco to begin my work there I decided to 
have a home. D. W. Owen had homesteaded a tract of land 
where now the city of Pasco is located. He offered to relin- 
quish a fraction containing 19 acres on the bank of the Colum- 
bia for $100. I thought $100 for 19 acres of sagebrush land 
was highway robbery, but as I needed some ground for a home, 
I accepted his offer and built a home. Though I was born in 
Oregon City and brought up in the West, and though my father 
was one of the earliest pioneers of Oregon, I had never before 
owned land. I became quite enthused with the idea of owning 
land. I secured a relinquishment from Henry Gantenbein of 80 
acres, which extended from the river to the railroad section 
where Pasco is located. I filed a pre-emption upon it. I paid 
$2.50 an acre for it and as soon as I had secured the receiver's 
receipt I platted 50 acres of it as an addition to Pasco. 

"I remember they thought it very pecuHar to file an addition 
to Pasco before the plat of Pasco itself was filed. I never was 
much busier than I was then. I was the local land agent for 
the Northern Pacific. I had charge of the selling of their lots 
and acreage. I was county commissioner, I had a dairy with 
10 cows, I had 100 hogs, and had over 200 horses, and was 
feeding over 400 of the Northern Pacific employes. In addi- 
tion to this I was attending every Republican state convention. 
My purpose of attending the conventions was to be appointed 
on the resolutions committee. That was all the office I wanted. 
Each time I secured the adoption of a resolution demanding of 
Congress the immediate opening of the Columbia river to un- 
obstructed navigation. 

"The railroad wanted to cross my land. I told the graders 
they could not cross without my permission. They sent their 
attorney, who told me if I didn't let them cross I would lose 
my contract for feeding the Northern Pacific employes and 

348 Fred Lockley 

would also lose my position on the transfer boat. I told him 
where he could go, but it wasn't a health resort that I recom- 
mended. In fact, it was a place where the climate was pretty 
tropical. I demanded $500 for permission to cross my place. 
The graders were instructed to go ahead, any way. I took my 
shotgun and went out and had a little talk with the foreman 
and he decided not to do anything. He telegraphed to the 
officials and by return wire they telegraphed they were send- 
ing me a draft for $500. I would have been glad to let them 
go across, but didn't like the way they went about it. 

"By the summer of 1886 I had 45 different kinds of trees 
growing on my place at Pasco, without irrigation. In addition 
to a large number of vegetables usually grown in the North- 
west, I successfully matured peanuts, cotton and sugar cane. 
That will give you some idea of the possibility of fruit grow- 
ing and the growing of vegetables in this district. 

"You remember I told you about reporting that I believed 
the Rock Island rapids could be successfully negotiated? On 
the strength of my report the O. R. & N. Co. fitted out an ex- 
pedition consisting of two boats to go as far as the Priest 
rapids. The Almota and the John Gates were the two boats. 
The Almota was to accompany the John Gates to Priest rapids 
and the John Gates was to endeavor to go to the head of navi- 
gation on the Columbia, the Almota's part of the contract be- 
ing to act as tender and carry fuel and extra equipment as far 
as Priest rapids. C. H. Prescott and some of the other offi- 
cials of the O. R. & N., as well as General Gibbon, commander 
of the Department of the Columbia, with his staff and 120 
soldiers from Fort Vancouver, were taken along on the trip. 
The soldiers were to assist the boat in overcoming the rapids 
by lining the steamer through the rapids. The ascent of Priest 
Rapids was made without much difficulty. This gave to the 
steamer John Gates the honor of being the first steamboat to 
pass over the rapids. The Almota remained below Priest 
Rapids. The formation of the Rock Island Rapids consists of 
a number of dangerous reefs through which the current makes 
short and difficult turns, making navigation of the Rock Island 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 349 

Rapids a matter requiring- care, skill and making the rapids dan- 
gerous unless the navigator thoroughly understands his work. 
After working nearly all day to lay lines to get the boat safely 
around Hawksbill Point, night overtook them. The line was put 
ashore and the boat was tied where it was so that it would not 
lose what way it had already made. The turbulent currents 
and eddies dashed and pounded the boat all night. It bobbed 
around as if it were a cork in rough water. The officials of 
the railroad as well as the military officials didn't get much 
sleep. Next morning one of the head officials came to the 
captain of the boat and said: 'Let go your lines and get out 
of this hell-hole as quickly as you can.' The trip was aban- 
doned and Rock Island Rapids was reported unnavigable. 

The steamer John Gates was named after John Gates, the 
chief engineer of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company. He 
succeeded Jacob Kamm in that position. He was born in Maine 
and came to California in 1849. In 1853 he came to Oregon. 
He is the inventor of the Gates hydraulic steering gear as well 
as many other valuable inventions. He supervised the build- 
ing of both the Almota and the John Gates as well as the 
Harvest Queen, the Henry Villard, the Occident, the Orient, 
the Hassalo, and many other boats. He started his career in 
Portland as engineer of a sawmill at the foot of Jefferson 
street. He died 35 years later while mayor of Portland. 

"The Almota was launched at Celilo, September 27, 1876. 
Captain E. W. Baughman was her first master. Captain Sam- 
son was her next commander and he was followed by myself, 
George Gore and John F. Stump and a number of other well 
known river captains. The Almota was one of the g-reatest 
money makers that ever plied the Columbia. She cleared over 
$14,000 on one trip upon one occasion, the bulk of the freight 
being government supplies to be used by the soldiers under 
Genera] O. O. Howard, who were engaged in the pursuit of 
Chief Joseph and his horde of Nez Perces. 

"A number of friends of mine from Ellensburg were inter- 
ested in the development of a mine in the Okanogan district 
some years ago. They conceived the idea of establishing a 

350 Fred Lockley 

line of communication between Ellensburg and their mine. 
This required a trip across the mountains from Ellensburg to 
Wenatchee. They thought if they could haul their supplies 
to Wenatchee they could put a boat on the river and take their 
supplies from Wenatchee to the Okanogan much more cheaply 
by boat than to haul by team. They looked the matter up and 
found I had reported it feasible to take boats over Priest 
Rapids, and also Rock Island Rapids. Acting on my report, 
made some years before to the O. R. & N. Co., they built a 
boat at Pasco to navigate the Columbia from Point Eaton at 
the mouth of Johnson's canyon, to the site of their mines 
in the Okanogan. They secured the services of Captain Jones, 
a Mississippi steamboat man, to plan and build a boat suitable 
for use on the upper river. 

"Shortly before the boat was completed, I had a talk with 
him and urged him to make a personal examination of the 
Rock Island Rapids. He told me he was able to navigate 
water, no matter how swift it was. However, in a rather lofty 
way, he consented to go up and look at the rapids before mak- 
ing the trip. He visited the Rock Island Rapids and by a 
roundabout way he got back to the railroad and went back to 
the Mississippi. Neither the stockholders of the boat com- 
pany nor any one else in this part of the country ever saw him 

"This left the Ellensburg miners in a rather bad way. They 
were out the expense of the boat and had no one who would 
tackle the job of operating it. They came to me, but I told 
them I could not afford to neglect my own interests for the 
sake of running their boat. 

"They put it up to me, however, that it was on the strength 
of my report the boat had been built, so, to the neglect of my 
own interests, I agreed to take charge of their steamer, 'The 
City of Ellensburg,' and demonstrate for them the rapids could 
be overcome. 

"In July, 1888, we left Pasco with 45 tons of freight and 
several passengers on board for the Okanogan. The steamer 
was a stern wheeler, 120 feet long, 22 foot beam and drew four 
feet when loaded. 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 351 

"After sizing up the boat and its equipment, I didn't blame 
Captain Jones for disappearing. However, I had promised 
them to make the attempt, and I did n't intend to back out. You 
know they say, 'A poor workman always quarrels with his 
tools/ so I decided to do the best I could under the circum- 

"At Priest Rapids we attempted to lay a line along the shore 
and fasten it above the lower riffle and attach it to the boat 
below. I found we couldn't carry the line clear of submerged 
reefs. The only thing I could do was to sink a dead man to 
fasten to, so as to pull the steamer over the lower riffle. To do 
this it was necessary to lay the line down through a rough 
channel between the reefs. It was a dangerous proposition, 
and if the small boat was encumbered with the extra line the 
probability was that the men who were not experienced would 
be drowned. I decided to make a test trip. I put men enough 
in the boat to weigh about the same as a line. I had the mate 
put out extra boats to pick us up below the rapids if we cap- 
sized. Naturally, I didn't tell the crew of the boat I expected 
to capsize. After completing the placing of the dead man I 
ordered the crew I had selected into the small boat, telling them 
I wished to make a trip across the channel to see if there wasn't 
a better place to ascend on that side. After ordering the men 
to take their places, I took the bow of the skiff, shoved it into 
the current, stood on the shore myself, and held to the stern 
until it swung across the current, and then jumped in and 
caught up the steering oar. I ordered the men to row hard, 
and I headed her for the rapids. 

"A Dane named C. E. Hanson, who was one of my deck- 
hands, but who has since been made captain of a steamer on 
the upper Columbia, and who is now in charge of the gov- 
ernment work of improving the Okanogan river, gave me a 
steady and resolute look, braced himself and began to pull at 
his oar. I had picked out a Frenchman who was used to raft- 
ing driftwood, and who I thought had unlimited nerve. Pie 
dropped his oar and began praying and crying : 'Frenchy will 
surely die. He is going over Priest Rapids.' It seems that his 

352 Fred Lockley 

custom had been to let the raft go through by itself and take 
his skiff around by portage. I was steering. Frenchy had the 
midship oars, big John Hanson had the after oars, the other 
two men, who were deckhands, were in the bow of the boat. 
Hanson pulled out into the current, giving Frenchy, wlio was 
kneeling in the bottom of the boat praying, a contemptuous 
look. We passed over the break and I swung the skiff quar- 
tering into the swell. In a moment we were in the midst of the 
turmoil of waters. Big John kept at the oars, and I watched 
like a hawk with my steering oar. For a moment the waves 
were higher than the boat but we went through safely. 

"My experiment proved the boat would carry a line through, 
so we came down with the line and negotiated the Priest 
Rapids successfully. As we lined the steamer into the raipds 
the water poured over the buffalo chocks. Next day we ar- 
rived at Rock Island Rapids. 

"The only point at which Rock Island Rapids is really 
difficult or dangerous is at Hawksbill Point. It juts into the 
river at an acute angle from the island, on the left hand side 
of the island as you go up the river. It required delicate calcu- 
lation to overcome this difficulty. I put out three lines at the 
same time. One to line her up and the others to keep her from 
swinging either way. It took us two hours to pass Hawksbill 
Point. We had another cluster of reefs near the head of the 
island to pass. Here the current turns in strongly toward the 
bluff, 40 feet high, which projects from the mainland on the 
right hand side at an acute angle. We had no line long enough 
to fasten to the right point to take us around this bluff. The 
boat's power was insufficient to hold it in place, let alone mak- 
ing headway across the current. The current drew the boat 
in at the head. We bucked the current for over an hour with- 
out success. I finally decided a desperate remedy must be 
taken. I threw her head across the current toward the island 
and swung almost against the island. It was necessary that I 
should let the stern wheel of the steamer go within four feet 
of the rocks and directly above them, to get out of the main 
strength of the current. If the current here was too strong the 

Reminiscences of Capt. W. P. Gray 353 

boat would go on the rocks, break her wheel, and leave us dis- 
abled in the current. For a moment the boat hung where she 
was. It was a mighty anxious moment for me, for, with all 
steam on, she seemed only able to hold her own. She was 
neither going forward nor back, but slowly, inch by inch, she 
pulled away from the rapids and out into the open river. That 
was the first time a steamboat had ever been through Rock 
Island Rapids. 

"The president of the company owning the boat was on board. 
His enthusiasm had ranged from fever heat to zero on most of 
the rapids. When I swung the boat over in the last effort, 
he wrung his hands and sobbed, 'You'll wreck her, you'll wreck 
her sure!' But when we began to gain headway and he was 
sure we were over Rock Island Rapids, he threw his arms 
around my neck and yelled, 'You've saved us — I knew you 
would !' Then I thought, what a narrow line divides failure 
and success. Failure is T told you so' ; and success is, T knew 

"We continued on up the river, gathering driftwood for fuel, 
using lines to help us over Entiat, Chelan, Methow and other 
rapids, and ran six miles up the Okanogan river to Lumsden's 
ford and stuck on the bottom of the river. Then we unloaded 
freight and passengers and went back through Rock Island and 
the other rapids to Port Eaton at the mouth of Johnson's canyon, 
where the people of Ellensburgh had constructed a wagon road 
to the river in order to avoid the Wenatchee mountain. The 
road descended to the Columbia river over a cliff where the 
teamsters were obliged to cut large trees and hitch them by the 
tops behind the wagons to keep them from sliding on to the 
teams. The trees were left at the bottom of the cliff, and when 
the accumulation became so great as to obstruct the way they 
were burned. The use of the timber for brakes in the manner 
indicated had denuded the summit of the mountain for quite a 

"I made four more trips up and down through Rock Island 
and the other rapids between Port Eaton and the Okanogan 
river : but when the water fell Rock Island rapids became im- 

354 Fred Lockley 

passable, and a route was established from above that point to 
Bridgeport, ten miles above the Okanogan. When the Great 
Northern Railway was built the lower end of the route was 
established at Wenatchee and steamboat service has continued 
there since." 




TO OREGON, 1846 





Edited b\f George H. Himes 

Since the report of Lieutenant Neil M. Howison, of the 
United States Sloop of War Shark, was published in The 
Quarterly for March, 1913, a survivor of that ill-fated vessel 
has been found in the person of Mr. Burr Osburn. The fol- 
lowing letters from him, throwing additional light upon that 
disaster, together with the naval record of Lieutenant Howison, 
form a valuable supplement to what has already been published : 

Union City, Michigan, Feb. 17, 1913. 
Postmaster, Astoria, Ore. 

Dear Sir : Would you please hand this letter to some old 
pioneer that you think might answer it. I would like to know 
how many inhabitants Astoria has, and I would like a map of 
the river coast from Astoria down to Clatsop Beach. 

In 1846 I belonged to the U. S. S. Shark, and we kedged, 
sounded and buoyed the channel from Cape Disappointment to 
Vancouver, and on our return, coming out of the mouth of the 
river, we were driven with adverse winds upon the breakers, 
and the quicksands soon put us out of commission. Subse- 
quently, with a great deal of suffering, we landed upon Clatsop 
Beach without the loss of a single man. Neil M. Howison was 
commander. After landing at Clatsop Beach we made for 
Astoria, which had three log houses and one small frame house. 
There were seventy-six of us sailors besides the officers. Two 
of the log houses were not occupied ; the third one was occupied 
by the Hudson Fur Company^ officers. Us sailors occupied 

I Hudson's Bay Company. 

356 George H. Himes 

the two empty houses. The frame house was occupied by a 
Baptist Missionary. ^ We sailors were soon detailed down the 
river about one mile to a place called George's Point, where 
we cut and hauled the logs by hand about a half mile and 
built a double log house. 

I would like to know if any of the remains of that house are 
extant today. We built a small frame house near the log 
house. Us sailors named the place "Sharksville." Wonder if 
any one in Astoria of today ever heard it called "Sharksville?" 

Thanking you for any favors you may show in the above 
matter, I beg to remain, Yours very truly, 


The postmaster of Astoria sent the foregoing letter to 
Judge J. Q. A. Bowlby, a pioneer of 1852, long a resident of 
Astoria, who responded to Mr. Osborn's request by sending a 
number of publications relating to Astoria and vicinity, to 
which the following reply was received : 

Union City, Michigan, March 24th, 1913. 
J. Q. A. Bowlby, Esq., Astoria, Oregon, 

Dear Sir : On thoroughly examining the chart you recently 
sent me, I am convinced that we struck the breakers south of 
the channel, the wind at the time being westerly and on the 
flood tide. We landed on Clatsop beach several miles down 
the river from Astoria, between nine and ten o'clock in the 
evening, the tenth of September, 1846, and our first landing of 
half of the crew was about daylight. The first fire that was 
built was made out of the wreck of the sloop of war Peacock, 
U. S. N. The boats returned for the balance of the crew and 
landed about four o'clock A, M. Our boats consisted of the 
Captain's gig, a whale boat, first cutter and launch. The gig 
was the first boat loaded with the ship papers and the sick 
with the surgeon. The roll of the vessel brought the flukes of 
the anchor in contact with the boat and stove her all to pieces, 
but through the precaution of the captain in ordering all the ends 
of the running rigging to be thrown overboard, the boat's crew 

2 Rev. Ezra Fisher, who came to Oregon in i84S- 

Burr Osborn, Survivor Howison Exhibition, 1846 357 

and the sick managed to get hold of a rope and were all saved. 
During this time, every breaker broke clear over the vessel and 
continued doing so until ebb tide, when we lowered our other 
boats without damage. 

You inquired where the original Fort Astoria stood. I never 
heard of but one fort while there, and that was Fort George. 
Fort George was situated on a point down the river called 
one mile from the Hudson Bay Company's store house. The 
location of the store was called ^Astoria. This store was a log 
house, and with the two log huts was situated at the junction 
of the bluff and the incline land running down the river (as I 
remember, not to exceed five rods from the bluff and the in- 
cline). The location of the store and huts remains quite vivid 
on my mind for the reason that, within a week of our landing 
at Astoria, three-fourths of the crew were taken down with a 
fever and the rest of the crew were not much better. In con- 
nection with the store that I speak of, the stock consisted of 
goods thought necessary for the use of the trappers and the In- 
dians, and in the stock was quantities of salts and quinine, so 
the doctor dosed us with the same for about three weeks, when 
we began to recuperate. These fevers were probably brought 
on by the exposure and excitement and sleeping on the ground, 
also being scantily clad. We subsequently secured clothing 
from Vancouver. At that time blankets cost $10 each and other 
clothing in proportion. The store had what sailors call a 
medicine chest, and as soon as we got this chest emptied — 
about the middle of October — we were detailed down the river 
to Fort George and set to hauling logs from the neighboring 
forests to build a log house. When the house was completed, 
we moved in and sent a boat to Vancouver for provisions, that 
being the nearest place to purchase goods of any kind. The 
completion of the house brought us well into November, but 
we had not occupied it long when Captain Howison chartered 
the ^Catborough, a schooner of about seventy-five tons burden, 
belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, commanded by Cap- 

3 Later known as Upper Astoria. At this place Gen. John Adair, the first 
customs collector of the Port of Astoria, had his residence in 1849-50. 

4 Cadboro. 

358 George H. Himes 

tain Scarborough. About the latter part of November, we 
boarded this vessel and sailed for San Francisco. We ran 
down to Baker's Bay and lay there about six weeks windbound, 
but eventually arrived in San Francisco, the sixth day of Jan- 
uary, 1847. 

I have two reasons for giving- you so detailed an account of 
my peregrinations around the mouth of the Columbia River : 
One is, I have nothing much else to do, only sit by the fire 
and nurse the "rheumatics" and to muse on past events of my 
life ; and the other is to show you that our time was limited in 
procuring many land-marks of that country, for our liberty was 
curtailed to a great extent on account of running a-foul of 
the Indians. 

I never saw or heard of McTavish tombstone nor the Con- 
comly grave. There was a head-board near the large tree, but 
do not recollect the name. I also forget the officer's name 
that attended to the store. He was one of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany's officials. Never heard of any Fort Astoria ; there was, 
as I have described it, a double log house with the two log 
huts near by. These three houses, with the missionary's house 
situated some twenty-five or thirty rods back near the forest, 
were the only sign of any house that was in this vicinity until 
we built the log house at Fort George's point, unless it was an 
Indian tepee east of the store about forty rods. 

I am sending you a sketch of x\storia under separate cover, 
as it looked to me when I was there, and the surroundings. I 
did not know John Shively or Jim Welch. Your postoffice 
picture has no resemblance to the Baptist missionary house. 
His house was about 18x24, one and one-half stories high, 
without any sort of a veranda or addition. 

Point George or Shark's Point was what they called Fort 
George. The main camp of Indians was back through the for- 
est near the hills, but I never visited their village. The land- 
ing place, as I stated before, was at the junction of the bluff 
and the beginning of the incline, as you will note on the sketch. 
I do not know of any other survivor of the Shark. I never 
heard of General Warren. There was a sloop-oi-war Warren 
in San Francisco. i 

Burr Osborn, Survivor Howison Exhibition, 1846 359 

The big- pine tree was located about as indicated on the 

Again thanking you for your recent favors, I beg to remain, 

Union City, Michigan, March 5th, 1913. 

J. Q. A. Bow^lby, Esq., Astoria, Oregon, 

Dear Sir : Your kind favors of the 25th inst. at hand, and 
find them very interesting, although it will perhaps be difficult 
for me to repay you for your kindness. The two letters, chart, 
postcards and pamphlets, etc., all arrived in good condition. 

If you can locate the place where the wreck of the sloop-of- 
war Peacock drifted ashore on Clatsop Beach, on the south 
side of the river, you will find where the schooner Shark's 
crew landed after being wrecked on the breakers, on the south 
side of the channel. Nearby this landing there was an old 
shanty, about 12x25 feet, without any floor, where the Shark's 
crew stopped for two nights. Half of the ship's crew were in 
their hammocks when she went on the breakers, on the flood 
tide, which proved that they were thinly clad. All I had on 
was an undershirt and a pair of drawers. The weather was 
rainy, so we were soaked with water from nine o'clock on the 
tenth night of September until the morning of the twelfth, when 
two Indians put in an appearance and informed the Cap- 
tain that there was a white man's^ ranch located inland 
twenty miles, and that they had cattle. So the captain dis- 
patched the Indians to the ranch with orders to bring in a 
couple of oxen, for we were in a starving condition. In the 
evening of September 12th, the oxen arrived, and they were 
soon slaughtered and laid on some driftwood, and everybody 
helped himself, and soon about eighty half-starved men, each 
with a chunk of beef, were roasting it over about as many 
fires (for there was plenty of wood) ; some of the men merely 
warmed their meat, for it had been about fifty-two hours since 
we had broken our fast. 

5 Probably Solomon Howard Smith, he being the first white settler in Clatsop 
County in 1840. 

360 George H. Himes 

The next morning, the 13th, we started for Astoria, then 
about twenty miles from the mouth of the river. 

This shanty that we stopped in on Clatsop Beach, we learned 
subsequently had been built by some of Lewis and Clark's men, 
some forty years previous.^ 

On arriving at Astoria, we found the village situated on a 
bluff, as near as I can remember about twenty or thirty feet 
high, and consisted of three log houses and one frame house. 
The log houses belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company, 
with their headquarters located at Vancouver, ninety-six miles 
above the mouth of the river, where they had a large store 
house and a few dwelling places. There were not many whites 
there, only what were in the employ of the company. One of 
the log houses in Astoria was a double one, used by the com- 
pany as a branch store house and was kept by one man (I 
forget his name) ; he received the furs from the trappers and 
paid for them in dicker, such as guns, traps, ammunition, beads 
for the Indians, whisky, etc. The other two smaller log houses 
were for the use of the trappers, when they came in with their 

These three log houses were situated within a few rods of the 
bluff and within a few rods of the landing, the landing being 
close to the beginning of the bluff, west of the log houses, which 
were built in a cluster, there soon commenced an incline toward 
what they called Ft. George, where us boys built the log house 
and named it Sharksville, after our lost ship. As I remember, 
after going down this incline from the houses, there was no 
bluff to speak of, to Ft. George, it being a gravelly beach some 
of the way. They called it one mile from the stores to Fort 

The store house was situated east of the other two huts, 
about three rods, as I remember. The man that kept the store 
and the missionary were the only white men that I saw there, 
besides our own crew — do not remember the names of either 
of these men. As I remember, the missionary lived about 

6 Near sfte where Lewis and Clark's men distilled salt from sea water in 
January, 1805. 

Burr Osborn, Survivor Howison Exhibition, 1846 361 

thirty rods back of the store near the forest. There was a strip 
of cleared land, or had been cleared, but grown up to black- 
berry bushes and brush more or less, about thirty rods wide, 
beginning about forty rods east of the store and running down 
to Ft. George. 

There was no sign of there ever being any fort anywhere on 
this strip of land, not even a stockade.'^ 

The Shark was 'fore an' aft schooner of about three hundred 
tons burden. She carried ten carronades and two "Long Toms" 
— all thirty-two pounders. When she struck the breakers, we 
threw overboard some of the guns and shot and cut away the 
masts, to lighten her. 

It was told to us that we were sent up there to offset a 
British man-o'-war. The two governments were trying to set- 
tle the boundary line between Washington and the British 
possessions. At that time it was the cry, "54-40 or fight." But 
they fought it out in Washington, D. C. 

No, I never heard of Concomly's grave, back of the mis- 
sionary house. There was a monstrous fir pine that had been 
blown up by the roots, and it looked as if it had been down for 
many years. Some of the boys measured it and reported that 
it was twelve feet in diameter at the butt and three hundred 
and thirty feet in length to where it had been sawed off to 
make a roadway. It was eighteen inches in diameter where 
it had been sawed off ; so the boys concluded that it must have 
been about four hundred feet high. 

About all the names of places we heard about was Cape 
Disappointment, Baker's Bay, Clatsop Beach, Astoria, Fort 
George and the Columbia River. We might have heard of 
some Indian names, but have forgotten them. The Indians 
claimed about three hundred "bucks," but us boys were never 
allowed to mingle with them. Their main settlement was back 
from the coast; as you know they were the Flathead tribe. 
Their way of making a flat head was to place the papoose in 
a box and lash a board over the forehead in a slanting position 
and keep the papoose there for twelve months. The forehead 

7 The original Fort Astor was destroyed by fire in 1818. 

362 George H. Himes 

would become flat and the head run up to a peak. The box 
was fastened to a pole about six feet long, and when they wanted 
to sit the kid down, they would stand it up against a tree. I 
am wondering if there is any of this tribe left, and if they still 
continue this method. 

When a lad of seventeen years, I went to sea and sailed 
around the world twice, and visited the five grand divisions 
of the world and hundreds of islands. I was in the merchant 
service, the whaling service, and in the navy, and now in 
Michigan. I was born near Bridgeport, Conn., the 25th of 
April, 1826. 

Again thanking you for your kind favors and interest you 
have shown in answering my inquiry, I beg to remain. 


Upon calling on Judge Bowlby in Astoria September 24th 
last, he gave me the foregoing correspondence. I then wrote 
to Mr. Osborn for his portrait, asking a number of questions 
as to the names of his fellow seamen, to which the following is 
a response : 

Union City, Mich., October 6, 1913. 
George H. Himes, Portland Oregon. 

Dear Sir : Yours of the 26th inst. at hand, and wish to thank 
you for enrolling my name as a member of the Pioneer So- 
ciety, and for your interest in writing. 

I remember of several of the Shark's crew cutting their 
names on some stones above high water mark, but do not re- 
member any of their names — in fact I do not remember many 
of the names of the Shark's crew; my memory is very poor 
when it comes to remembering names, and then I was only 
with the Shark's crew about four months. Captain Neil M. 
Howison was Lieutenant Commander, First Lieutenant Schank 
(he was a brother to Ambassador Shank,^ to Great Britain, a 
number of years ago). Second Lieutenant Bullock, Dr. Hud- 
son, surgeon. I remember one James McEver, on account of 

8 Doubtless Robert C. Schenck, who was a minister to Brazil in 1851-53, and 
a general officer in the Union army in 1861-63. 

Burr Osborn, Survivor Howison Exhibition, 1846 363 

his heading a gang with a crow-bar to break open the "Spirit 
Room" for whisky, when Captain Howison leveled a six- 
shooter at his head and told him if he made a single stab he 
would blow his head off. McEver and his followers claimed they 
wanted to die happy. Joe Cotton, I remember as being cox- 
swain on the boat that I belonged to, and when the schooner 
struck the breakers, we were sounding for the channel in a 
whale boat. I met Cotton some thirty years ago, at a reunion 
at Grand Rapids ; he then lived in Saranac, Michigan, but he 
is dead now. George Getchel, who was my particular chum, 
hailed from Belfast, Maine. 

The schooner Shark was a U. S. surveying vessel. Like the 
Peacock, we started out of Baker's Bay with a good favorable 
breeze, when all of a sudden the wind died out and we drifted 
on to the breakers. We had sounded and buoyed the channel 
from Cape Disappointment to Fort Vancouver, kedging the 
vessel all the way. The Shark drew thirteen feet of water, so 
that we could not get over the bar at the mouth of the Wil- 
lamette River until we placed her guns on a lighter. The 
Shark's crew landed on Clatsop Beach. The first fire we built 
after landing was out of some of the wreck of the U. S. Sloop- 
of-War Peacock, that had drifted on the beach. 

There were seventy-six men in our crew besides the offi- 
cers. I have told Mr. Bowlby all I could think of about As- 
toria, and the river to Vancouver. Vancouver was a Hudson's 
Bay trading post for furs taken in from the Indians— so was 

I first met the Shark in Honolulu. I had made the passage 
from New Zealand to the Sandwich Islands in a whale ship, 
got stranded in Honolulu and shipped on the Shark, us "Jack- 
ies" being informed that we were being sent up to the Oregon 
territory to settle a dispute about the boundary line between 
B. C. and Oregon. Great Britain wanted the Columbia River 
for the boundary, but Uncle Sam said "54-40 or fight," but 
we did not see any fight with the British for the matter was 
settled in Washington, D. C, and us "Jackies" were set to 
work finding the channel of the river to Vancouver to keep 
us out of mischief, I suppose. 

364 George H. Himes 

I enjoyed the cards and your interesting letter very much, 
and thanking you for the same, I remain, 



In a subsequent letter to me, dated Oct. 13th, Mr. Osborn 
says: "I remember two more names of the Shark's crew — 
John Powers and Past Midshipman Gillespie. I did not give 
you the name under which I enlisted on the Shark. It was 
John Burr Osborn. The reason for the additional name was 
that the clerk thought that 'Burr' was a nick-name, and hence 
added 'John.' " 

After securing the foregoing from Mr. Osborn, an attempt 
was made to obtain a portrait of Lieutenant Howison and an 
account of his life. To that end a letter was addressed to the 
Superintendent of the Naval Academy at Annapolis; but as 
that institution was not established until 1845 the record there 
was very meagre. Then a letter was sent to Hon. Harry Lane, 
United States Senator from Oregon, Washington, D. C., and 
he took the question up with the Bureau of Navigation of the 
Naval Department and the following was supplied : 


Born in Virginia. 

Appointed a midshipman. 

Ordered to Norfolk to Peacock. 

Accepted appointed. 

To Court Martial, Philadelphia. 

Leave unlimited. 

To the receiving ship, New York. 

Permission to attend Naval School. 

Attend examination. 

Be ready for orders to the expedition. 

Be ready for orders to the Brandywine. 

To the Brandywine as Sailing Master. 

Leave unlimited. 
Aug. 20. To the Brandywine. 













1828— Sept, 

. 5. 












1830— July 


Burr Osborn, Survivor Howison Exhibition, 1846 365 

1831— July 19. 

1832— July 18. 

1834— Feb. 5. 
1835— Feb. 19. 

Mar. 9. 
1836— Mar. 10. 
1838— July 11. 
1839— Feb. 26. 
1840— Sept. 24. 
1841— Aug. 13. 

Dec. 3. 
1842— Apr. 13. 
1843— May 1. 

1847— July 22. 

Aug. 10. 

Nov. 13. 

Nov. 23. 
1848— Feb. 23. 

Warranted to rank from the 23d of March, 

Commissioned as Lieutenant to take rank 

from the 13th of July, 1832. 
Leave three months. 
To the Peacock. 
Previous order revoked. 
To the Grampus. 
Leave 3 months. 
To Navy Yard at Pensacola. 
To the Consort. 
Leave 3 months. 
Leave 3 months. 
To Ordnance Duty. 
To Norfolk to apply for a passage to Pacific 

for duty on that Station. 
Returned from Pacific, 1847. 
Leave 3 months. 
To Naval School. 
Previous order revoked. 
Died at Fredericksburgh, Va. 


Editorial Notes by T. C. Elliott 

Alexander Ross, whose day-to-day experiences in 1824 ap- 
pear in this journal, did service in many parts of the Old Ore- 
gon country. As a member of the Pacific Fur Company he 
arrived on the Columbia in March, 1811, and assisted in the 
building- of Fort Astoria, and in the fall of the same year as- 
sisted in the building of the first Fort Okanogan, at which post 
he was stationed for several years ; from there he made trips 
south to the Yakima country, west to the summit of the Cas- 
cades, north to Thompson river and beyond, and east to the 
Spokane country. Later, while staff clerk of the Northwest 
Company at Fort George, he ascended the Willamette, and in 
1818 assisted Donald McKenzie in the building of Fort Nez 
Perce at the mouth of the Walla Walla river, of which fort 
he was in charge until 1823. That summer he started to cross 
the mountains and quit the service, the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany having succeeded the Northwest Company, but was 
stopped at Boat Encampment by a letter from Deputy 
Governor George Simpson, asking him to take charge of the 
Snake Country Expedition that fall. This appointment he ac- 
cepted and returned to Spokane House and thence proceeded 
to the Flathead Post in what is now Montana, where this 
journal begins. Returning from this expedition he spent the 
winter at the Flathead Post and in April, 1825, joined Gov- 
ernor Simpson at the mouth of the Spokane river on the way 
east to the Red River settlements, where he resided until his 
death in 1856. 

Mr. Ross is one of the four writers upon whom we depend 
for much that is known about the early exploration of and 
fur trade in this vast Columbia river basin. In 1849, more 
than twenty years after his active experiences here, he pub- 
lished a book entitled "Adventures of the First Settlers on the 
Oregon or Columbia River," and in 1855 he put out another 
book entitled, "Fur Hunters of the Far West." It is related that 

Journal of Alexander Ross 367 

Mr. Ross first left his paternal home in Scotland in 1804, from 
which it may be estimated that he was more than sixty years of 
age when completing these books, which, from their context, 
evidently were based upon some journal or memoranda then at 
hand. There has been and probably always will be a question as 
to how closely he followed any such original memoranda and 
how much he drew from memory. The publication of this 
journal is therefore valuable to the extent that it assists in 
answering that question, and it should be read in immediate 
comparison with the first 160 pages of Vol. II. of "Fur Hunt- 
ers of the Far West," Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1855. It 
may be noted also that the preface of Mr. Ross' first book was 
dated in 1846 and that pages 154-5 of Vol. II. of his "Fur 
Hunters," contains a footnote suggesting that at least a part 
of it had been written much earlier. 

The original of this journal is to be found in the possession 
of the Hudson's Bay Company at their head office on Lime 
street, London, but this text has been carefully copied from an 
original copy belonging to the Ayers Collection in the New- 
berry Library at Chicago, 111. ; that original copy was made 
by Miss Agnes C. Laut in preparation for writing her "Con- 
quest of the Great Northwest," and was by her transferred to 
the Newberry Library. To the writer of these notes, it seems 
possible that this is not the journal that Mr. Ross had when 
writing his books and that he had other papers than those 
formally turned over to the Hudson's Bay Company. This 
suggestion is based upon the fact that other personal 
journals have been found among the family archives of 
contemporaneous fur traders, also upon other deductions. The 
reader will regret that seemingly Miss Laut did not find it 
necessary to copy the entire text of the original in the H. B. 
Co. House at London. 

Referring to the journal itself it will be found that from 
Eddy, in Montana, Mr. Ross' party followed very closely 
the present route of the Northern Pacific Railway as far 
as Missoula, which is at the mouth of Hell Gate Canyon 
and River (Porte d'Infer, as the French half-breeds first 

368 T. C. Elliott 

named it) ; thence he proceeded south up the Bitter Root Val- 
ley, along the stream which is the original Clark's Fork of 
the Columbia named by Captain Lewis when at its source in 
1805. On a small mountain prairie of the easterly fork of this 
stream he was snowbound for a month, and that prairie has 
very properly been known ever since as Ross' Hole. Finally 
he succeeded in forcing a way across the continental divide by 
what is now known as the Gibbon Pass (but which Ohn D. 
Wheeler rightly says should be called Clark's Pass), over to 
Big Hole Prairie, where a monument now stands commemo- 
rating the battle between General Gibbon and Chief Joseph 
during that memorable Nez Perce retreat in 1877. Mr. Ross 
now crossed the various small source streams of the Big Hole 
or Wisdom river and passed over the low divide to the Beaver- 
head, which is another of the sources of Jefferson's Fork of 
the Missouri. Thence he again crossed the continental divide 
southwest into Idaho, using perhaps the same pass that Lewis 
and Clark had in 1805 and was upon the waters of the Lemhi 
river, and then spent the entire summer and early fall upon 
the mountain streams of central Idaho, including the Snake 
river from the Weiser southward a considerable distance. He 
returned by practically the same route and arrived at Flathead 
fort the last of November. 

As the Lewis and Clark party in 1805-6 traveled over a part 
of this same route it is very interesting in this connection to 
compare with the careful and voluminous notes of Dr. Elliott 
Coues and Mr. Olin D. Wheeler, both of whom personally fol- 
lowed the path of those explorers through these mountains. 

But the really beautiful as well as valuable portion of this 
journal is the brief and vivid picture of the grand assembly 
of the Indians at their customary council ground. Horse Plains, 
in December, 1824, and the ceremonial opening of the annual 
trading period at the Flathead Post, followed by the outfitting 
of the next Snake Expedition under Mr. Peter Skene Ogden, 
the brief mention of the holiday season at the fort, and of the 
closing up and departure of the trader in the spring. Here 
are facts and figures useful to the writers of poetry and ro- 
mance, as well as to the historian. 

Journal of Alexander Ross ; Snake Country 
Expedition, 1824 

(As Copied by Miss Agnes Laut in 1905 from Original in Hudson's Bay 
Company House, London, England.) 

Tuesday, 10th of February. 

Our party was as follows : 

Thyery Goddin 1 g'un 3 traps 2 horses 

Joseph Vail 1 gun 3 traps 2 horses 

Louis Paul 1 gun 3 traps 2 horses 

Francois Faniaint 1 gun 3 traps 2 horses 1 lodge 

Antoine Sylvaille 1 gun 3 traps 2 horses 

Laurent Quintal 1 gun 3 traps 2 horses 

Joseph Annance 1 gun 3 traps 2 horses 

Jean Bapt Gadaira 1 gun 3 traps 2 horses 

Pierre Depot 1 gun 3 traps 2 horses 

Francois Rivet, interp. . . 2 guns 6 traps 15 horses 1 lodge 

Alexander Ross 1 gun 6 traps 16 horses 1 lodge 

11 men 12 33 (?) 50 ( ?) 3 

1824, Feb. 10. Every preparation for the voyage being made 
I left Flat Head House^ in the afternoon in order to join the 
Free Men who were encamped at Prairie de Cheveaux.^ Joined 
the Free Men and encamped. Snow 18 inchs deep. Weather 
cold. General course east, 8 miles. Statement of Free Men 
Trappers, Snake Country. 

1 Flathead House or Fort or Post was then located almost exactly at the 
present railroad station of Eddy (Northern Pacific Ry.), on north bank of Clark 
Fork River, in Sanders County, Montana; this was about ten miles soutneast and 
further up the river from the site of David Thompson's "Salish House,' which 
was established in 1809 and used by the Northwest Company traders while that 
company continued in business. 

2 Horse Plains, now designated by the single word "Plains," a famous council 
ground of the Salish or Flathead Indians; the freemen were probably camped 
near the railroad station of Weeksville. 

370 Journal of Alexander Ross 

On the 
Men Traps Guns Horses Books 

Mr. Montour 3 15 3 10 2 

Vieux Pierre 3 15 4 11 3 

Martine 4 14 5 20 3 

Charles Gros Louis 3 16 4 10 2 

13 60 16 57 (?) 10 

Jacques _1 5 3 7 2 

Antoine Valles 17 18 2 

Clements 2 8 2 22 2 

Prudhomme 2 12 4 10 2 

Cadiac 4 11 4 7 2 

Creverss 3 8 3 8 2 

Geo. Louis Gros 3 12 3 9 2 

John Grey 2 7 2 7 2 

Charles Loyers 2 6 2 5 2 

Antoin Paget 2 12 2 7 2 

Robas Cass 4 16 4 13 2 

Francois 2 9 2 11 2 

Indian 2 9 2 10 2 

43 173 ( ?) 50 181 34 

Engages 11 33 12 50 

Total 20 lodges 54 206 62 231 

Many of these people are too old for a long voyage and very 
indifferent trappers. Iroquois, though good trappers, are very 
unfit for a Snake voyage, being always at variance with the 
whites, too fond of trafficking away their goods with the 
natives. More harm than good to our expedition. 
1824, February, Wednesday 11th. 

All hands being assembled together and provisions scarce, 
we lost no time leaving Prairie de Cheveaux. Proceeded till 
we reached Prairie de Camass^ and put up for the night. Sev- 

3 Camas Prairie, to the eastward from the Horse Plains; the Indian trail 
went across the hills by way of this prairie, instead of around by the river as 
the railroad now runs. This trail is clearly shown on map in Stevens' Report, 
Pac. Ry. Report, Vol. 12, Part i, also an engraving showing this prairie. 

Snake Country Expedition, 1824 371 

era! deer seen. Weather cold. Snow 15 inches, wind east. 
General course east by south, distance 12 miles. 

Thursday 12th. Remained in camp on chance of killing 
deer — people badly off for provisions. Murmuring among the 
Iroquois, but I could not learn the cause. High wind, heavy 
snow, wind east. 

Friday, 13th. Early this a. m. the Iroquois asked to see their 
accounts. I showed them article by article and told them their 
amounts wh. seemed to surprise them not a little. Some time 
after leaving camp I was told that the worthy Iroquois had 
remained behind. I therefore went back, and true enough, the 
whole black squad, Martin excepted, had resolved to leave us, 
old Pierre at their head ! On being asked the cause Pierre spoke 
at length. The others grumbled, saying the price allowed for 
their furs was so small in proportion to the exorbitant advance 
on goods sold them, they were never able to pay their debts 
much less make money and would not risk their lives any 
more in the Snake Country. Old Pierre held out that Mr. 
Ogden last fall promised there would be no more N. W. cur- 
rency ; this they construed to be but paying half for their goods. 
I told them whatever had been promised would be performed. 
Although I had balanced their accounts, they could be altered 
if required. It was at headquarters accounts would be settled. 
They grumbled and talked, and talked and grumbled and at 
last consented to proceed. Thinks I to myself — this is the be- 
ginning. Having gained the blacks, we followed and camped 
at the Traverse* plain covered with but 10 inches of snow — 
weather fine, course S. E. Distance 10. 

Saturday 14th. Early on our journey except four lodges 
hunting deer. Proceeded to fork called Riviere aux Marons,^ 
where many wild horses are said to be. Our horses are lean. 
Seeing the Iroquois apart from the whites I suspected plot- 
ting and sent for Pierre and Martin. Gave them a memo, im- 

4 At Perma station of the No. Pac. Ry., where the trail again struck the 
Flathead River and crossed it; known later as Rivet's Ferry because a son of old 
Francois Rivet settled there. 

5 A small stream entering the Flathead from the south near McDonald station 
of the No. Pac. Ry. 

372 Journal of Alexander Ross 

porting that N. W. currency was done away with and their ac- 
counts would be settled with Quebec currency or sterling. This 
pleased. All is quiet. S. E. 

Sunday 15th. Remained in camp on account of bad weather 
and for hunters who brought in four wild horses and seven 
deer. These horses are claimed by the Flathead tribes ; those 
who kill them have to pay four skins Indian currency. Wind 

Monday 16th. On our journey early. Delayed by a pour, 
rain, sleet, snow. Passed the Forks, left main branch Flathead 
River followed up Jacques Fork^ till we made a small rivulet 
on the south side which our people named Riviere Maron. 
Country is pleasant, animals small and lean. Traps produced 
nothing. Course S. E., distance nine miles. 

Tuesday 17th. Left camp early, the people grumbling to 
remain. Passed three lodges of Tete Pletes. Francois Rivet''' 
caught a beaver; but the wolves devoured it, skin and all. 
Course S. SE., distance twelve miles. 

Wednesday 18th. Remained in camp to hunt and refresh 
horses before entering the mountains. I appointed Vieux 
Pierre to head the Iroquois, Mr. Montour^ the Ft. de Prairie^ 
Half Breeds, and myself the remainder so the sentiments of 
the camp may be known by a council : among so many unruly, 
ill-tongued villains. Four elk and twenty-five small deer 
brought to camp. Louis killed nine with ten shots. 

Friday ZOth.^"^ Detained in camp by sleet and rain. 

Saturday 21st. Antoine Valle's boy died. 

Monday 23rd. Passed the defile^^ of the mountains between 
Jacques and Courtine forks. End of defile had a view of noted 
place called Hell's Gate, so liamed from being frequented by 

6 The Jocko, which flows into the Flathead at Dixon, Montana; this stream, 
so named after Jacques _ Raphael Finlay, an intelligent half-breed and one of 
David Thompson's men, in 1809. 

7 Afterward a settler on French Prairie in the Willamette Valley. 

8 Mr. Ross' clerk; doubtful whether the Nicholas Montour of David Thomp- 
son's time. 

9 A general term meaning the prairie forts of the company on the Saskatchewan 

10 See page 11 of "Fur Hunters." 

11 Coriacan Defile through which the No. Pac. Ry. now passes; the view of 
Missoula and the Bitter Root Valley is as fine now as it was in 1824. 

Snake Country Expedition, 1824 373 

war parties of young Blackfeet and Piegans. We were met 
by eight Piegans and a drove of dogs in train with provisions 
and robes to trade at the Flathead post. At Courtine's Fork, 
the country opens finely to view clumps of trees and level 
plains alternately. The freemen in spite of all we could say 
like a band of wolves seized on the Piegan's load, one a robe, 
another a piece of fat, a third a cord, a fourth an appichinon, 
till nothing remained and for a few articles of trash paid in 
ammunition treble the value. These people put no value on 
property. It would be better to turn these vagabonds adrift 
with the Indians and treat them as Indians. 

Tuesday 24th. Remained in camp to hunt. Traded seven 
beaver from the Piegans. As they were going off we saluted 
them with the brass gun to show them that it at least makes 
a noise. 

Wednesday 25th. Passed Piegan River^^ the war road to 
this quarter. Here the road divides to the Snake country, one 
following the Piegan River, the other Courtine's Fork^^ both 
to the Snakes S. E. We followed the latter, a continuation of 
S. fork of Flathead River. Elk and small deer in great plenty. 
Flocks of swans flying about. Was informed that two Iro- 
quois, Laurent and Lazard, had deserted. Assembling a small 
party, I went in pursuit of the villains. After sixteen miles 
we came up with them, partly by persuasion, partly by force, 
brought them along after dark. Old Pierre behaved well. 
Lazard had disposed of his new rifle and ammunition for a 
horse. Lazard had sold his lodge. Though encamped in a 
most dangerous place, not a freeman would guard the horses. 

Thursday 26th. The general cry was for remaining to hunt. 
I assented. It may be asked why I did not command. I answer 
— ^to command when we have power of enforcing the command 
does very well ; otherwise, to command is one thing ; to obey, 

Friday 27th. Hunt yesterday, twenty-seven elk, six deer. 

12 The Hell Gate or Missoula River. 

13 The Bitter Root River of today. Our Clark Fork River was then called the 
Flathead River clear to Lake Fend d'Oreille, and below that even. 

374 Journal of Alexander Ross 

Sunday 28th. All this day in camp to wait those laggard 
freemen who arrived in the evening and camped on the opposite 
side of the river to show contrary. 

Tuesday March^^. There fell seven inches of snow ; south 
wind soon dispelled the gloom. This being a good place for 
horses, we resolved to pass the day to prepare for passing the 
mountains between head waters of the Flathead and Missouri 
Rivers. Killed eleven elk, four sheep, seven deer. They're 
very fat here. 

Thursday 11th. Proceeding over slippery stony road, at 
every bend a romantic scene opens. The river alone prevents 
the hills embracing. Our road following the river crossing 
and recrossing. Here a curiosity called the Ram's Horn^^ — 
out of a large pine five feet from root projects a ram's head, 
the horns of which are transfixed to the middle. The natives 
cannot tell when this took place but tradition says when the 
first hunter passed this way, he shot an arrow at a mountain 
ram and wounded him ; the animal turned on his assailant who 
jumped behind a tree. The animal missing its aim pierced 
the tree with his horns and killed himself. The horns are 
crooked and very large. The tree appears to have grown 
round the horns. Proceeded over zigzag road. 

Monday 15th^^. Early this morning thirty men, ten boys, 
fifty horses set off to beat the road through five feet of snow 
for twelve miles. Late in the evening all hands arrived well 
pleased with day's work having made three miles. The horses 
had to be swum through it, in their plunges frequently dis- 
appearing altogether. Geese and swan seen in passage north 
today. > ' ^: i^ 

Thursday 18th. This morning sent off forty men with 
shovels and fifty horses to beat the road. Weather bad with 

14 Now seem to be near the forks of the Bitter Root, above the town of 
Darby, Ravalli County, Montana. 

15 See pages 18 and 19 of "Fur Hunters"; they follow the trail through the 
gorge of Ross Fork of the Bitter Root. This Rams Horn tree was a common 
sight to Montana pioneers who traveled that trail in the fifties and sixties. It is 
yet known as the Medicine Tree, because so revered by the Indians. The trunk 
still stands in Sec. 22, Tp. 30 N., R. 20 E., B. M. 

16 He is now in Ross' Hole, his "The Valley of Troubles," as described on 
page 20 of "Fur Hunters." Lewis and Clark were here September 4, 1805; also 
consult Fac. Ry. Report, Vol. 12, Part i, page 169, for description and engraving. 

Snake Country Expedition, 1824 375 

snow and drift, they returned to camp. The crust is eight (?) 
inches thick lying under two feet of snow. Owing to crust 
the horses made no headway. There are now eight miles of 
the road made, oft the prospect is gloomy, people undecided 
whether to continue or turn back. 

Friday 19th. We did not resume our labors today owing 
to the drift. This country abounds with mountain sheep 
weighing about seventy pounds. Late today John Grey, a 
turbulent leader among the Iroquois, came to my lodge as 
spokesman to inform me he and ten others had resolved to 
abandon the party and turn back. I asked him why? He 
said they would lose the spring hunt by remaining here, were 
tired of so large a band, and did not engage to dig snow and 
make roads. It told him I was surprised to hear a good quiet 
honest fellow utter such language, God forgive me for saying 
so. I said by going back they would lose the whole year's 
hunt, and here a sudden change in weather would allow us 
to begin hunting. Danger required us to keep together for 
safety. John answered he was neither a soldier nor a slave; 
he was under the control of no man. I told him he was a 
freeman of good character and to be careful not to stain it. 
In my heart I thought otherwise. I saw John in his true 
colors, a turbulent blackguard, a damned rascal. He said fair 
words were very good but back he would go. "You are no 
stronger than other men" said I, "stopped you will be ! I will 
stop you," and he said he would like to see the man who 
could stop him. I said I would stop him. If his party walked 
off the expedition would fail. Vieux Pierre interrupted by 
coming in. John went off cursing the large band, the Snake 
country and the day he came to it ! So another day ends. 

Saturday 20th. Stormy. John as he swore, did not turn 
back nor any of his gang. I suspect he is plotting to raise a 
rebellion. If he succeeds, it will injure our prospects if not 
stop us altogether. 

In the evening the cry of "enemies, enemies, Blackfeet! 
Piegans" was vociferated in the camp. All hands rushed out 
when the enemies proved to be six friendly Nez Perces sepa- 

Z76 Journal of Alexander Ross 

rated from their camp on the buffalo ground and in snow 
shoes made way to us across the mountains. They have 
been five days on this journey. They told us the Blackfeet 
and Piegans had stolen horses out of the Flathead and Nez 
Perces' camp nine different times and they were preaching 
up ( !) peace and good fellowship. The Blackfeet had made a 
war excursion against the Snakes, killed eight, taken some 
slaves and many horses. That the buffalo wxre in great 
plenty but the snow very deep. The Piegans were seen in 
seven bands. Cannot these outlandish devils disturbing the 
peace be annihilated or reduced? 

Sunday 21st. Finding John at the head of a party, I sent 
for the intriguing scamp and agreed with him to hunt me 
animals, whenever I should want any, from which source his 
debt of 4,000 livres is to be reduced 400 livres or about twenty 
beaver. To this he agreed. All quiet once more. It is im- 
possible to proceed without these hunters. 

Tuesday 23rd. Early this a. m. thirty persons went on 
snow shoes across the mountains to the buffalo. I feel anxious, 
very anxious, at our long delay here. The people grumble 
much. The sly deep dog Laurent who once already deserted 
left camp today and turned back. He was off before I had 
any knowledge of it and told his comrades he was going to 
the Nez Perces' camp to trade meat, but would come again. 
Our camp abounds with meat. The dog has no thought of re- 
turning unless the Indians cast him out as he deserves. A 
more discordant, headstrong, ill-designing set of rascals than 
form this camp God never permitted together in the fur trade. 

Wednesday 24th. All quiet in camp today. 

Thursday 25th. All the women went off to collect berries. 

Sunday 28th. The buffalo hunters came back today, buf- 
falo in plenty; thirty killed, six of the men brought over 140 
pounds of dried meat but becoming snow blind could not 
secure (?) the meat left behind. Grass began to appear through 
the snow. 

Tuesday 30th. A meeting today to decide whether to make 
the rest of the road or not. It was agreed to wait seven or 
eight days, another party to go buffalo hunting. 

Snake Country Expedition, 1824 Z77 

Friday 2nd (April) Today I was surprised by the return 
of Laurent. He says he went as far as Hell's Gate but finding 
no beaver came back. The truth is, he saw the Piegans, got a 
fright and came back. 

Monday 5th. Were visited by fifty Nez Perces just arrived 
from buffalo country loaded with provisions. Our people com- 
menced a trade with them so brisk that hardly a ball was left 
among the freemen nor a mouthful of provisions amongst 
the Indians. When these people meet Indians, a frenzy siezes 
them. What madness in them, and what folly in the company 
to be furnishing such people with means. It was now we 
learned the truth of Laurent's trip back. He was sent by 
the Iroquois to get these Indians to trade with us. This visit 
has left our people almost naked and cost 100 balls to send our 
visitors off pleased. 

Wednesday 7th. Nez Perces went off. 

Friday 9th. After a pause of twenty-six days we shifted 
quarters two miles ahead. 

Saturday 10th. This morning none of the freemen would 
work on the road except old Pierre, who alone went and alone 
worked. A novel trick brought about a change. Old Cadiac 
dit, Grandreau having made a drum and John Grey a fiddle, 
the people were entertained with a concert of music^'^. Taking 
advantage of the good humor, I got all to consent to go to the 
road tomorrow. 

Wednesday 14th. This morning on going to my lodge in 
camp, I could muster only seven persons with twenty horses to 
finish the last mile of the road. In the evening we raised 
camp and moved to the foot of the mountain at the source of 
Flathead River, 345 miles from its joining the Columbia. The 
river is navigable for 250 miles. 

Thursday 15th. This day we passed the defile^^ of the 
mountains after a most laborious journey both for man and 
beast. Long before daylight, we were on the road, in order 
to profit by the hardness of the crust. From the bottom to 

17 The first vaudeville performance in Ravalli County, Montana, of which 
we have record. 

18 Gibbon's Pass across the continental divide. 

378 Journal of Alexander Ross 

the top of the mountain is about one and a half miles. Here 
is a small creek, the source of the Missouri, in this direction 
between which and the source of the Flathead River is scarce 
a mile distant. The creek runs a course nearly S. SE. fol- 
lowing the road through the mountain till it joins a principal 
branch of the Missouri beyond the Grand Prairie^^. For 
twelve miles, the road had been made through five feet deep 
snow but the wind had filled it up again. The last eight miles 
we had to force our way through snow gullies. At 4 p. m. we 
encamped on the other side of the defile without loss or acci- 
dent. Distance today, eighteen miles. This high land is a 
horn of the Rocky Mountains, called the Blue Mountains. It 
is the dividing ridge^" between the Nez Perces and Snake Na- 
tions and terminates near the Columbia. The delay has cost 
loss of one month and to the freemen 1,000 beaver. Two men 
should winter here and keep the road open at all seasons. 

Friday 16th. Encamped here to make lodge poles for the 

Saturday 17th. Proceeded to the main fork^^ of Missouri 
hobbled our horses and set watch. It was on this flat prairie 
400 Piegans came up with Mr. McDonald^^ last fall and a 
freeman named Thomas Anderson from the east side of the 
mountains was killed. 

Monday 19th. As we are on dangerous ground, I have 
drawn up the following rules : 

( 1 ) All hands to raise camp together and by call. 

(2) The camp to march as close as possible. 

(3) No person to run ahead. 

(4) No persons to set traps till all hands camp. 

(5) No person to sleep out of camp. 

These rules which all agreed to were broken before night. 

Wednesday 21st. Thirty beaver today. The freemen will 

keep no watch on their horses but to tie them and sleep fast. 

19 Big Hole Prairie, Beaverhead County, Montana, well described and illus- 
trated in Stevens' Pac. Ry. Report already cited. 

20 Very nearly correct. The Blue Mountain Range of Eastern Oregon and 
Washington really is a continuation of the mountain range that crosses Idaho 
and joins the continental divide at the head of the Bitter Root Valley of Montana. 

21 Meaning the Big Hole or Wisdom River. 

22 Finan McDonald, who led the Snake Expedition in 1823. 

Snake Country Expedition, 1824 379 

Thursday 22nd. Thirty-five beaver taken, six feet left in the 
trap. Twenty- five traps missing. Boisterous weather today. 
The freemen left their horses to chance, nor did they collect 
them during the storm at night. 

Discordant people fill up the cup 
Indifference and folly will soon drink it up 
But loss and misfortune must be the lot 
When care and attention are wholly forgot. 

Friday 23rd. Bad weather keeps us in camp. That scamp 
the Salteux and worthless fellow his nephew threaten to 
leave because I found fault with them for breaking the rules. 
If they attempt it, I am determined to strip them naked. 

Saturday 24th. Crossed beyond the boiling fountain-^, 
snow knee deep. We encamp in the spot where the Flathead 
and Nez Perces fought a battle four years ago. Herds of buf- 
falo grazing here : sixteen killed. The camp is now under 
guard. Half the people snow blind from the sun glare. 

Monday 26th. Crossed to Middle Forks^'* of the Missouri, 
smaller than the first fork with which it unites ten miles from 
here. A large herd of buffalo here ; upwards of twenty killed, 
two young calves brought to camp alive. This is a Piegan 
trail where three years ago, the freemen had battle with the 
Piegans and a Nez Perces' lad was shot last year. 

Tuesday 27th. After camping, we mounted the brass gun 
and shot it three times for practice. 

Wednesday 28th. Forty-four beaver to camp today. 

Thursday 29th. Leaving the Missouri, crossed over to the 
Nez Perces River called the Salmon River^^. It is a branch of 
the river on which Lewis and Clarke fell in leaving the Mis- 
souri for the Pacific. Followed up the middle fork of Missouri 
to its source, then ascending a hill fell on the waters of the 
Salmon. Passed a deserted Piegan camp of thirty-six lodges. 
This place is rendered immemorial as being the place where 

23 The warm springs near Jackson P. C, Beaverhead County, Montana. 

24 That is, he crossed the low divide to Grasshopper Creek near Bannock; 
the Beaverhead River would be his Middle Fork of the Missouri. 

25 He has now crossed over to the Lemhi River, a branch of the Salmon 
River, which flows into the Snake, and is in Idaho. See page 53 of "The Fur 

380 Journal of Alexander Ross 

about ten Piegans, murderers of our people, were burnt to 
death. The road in the defile we passed from the Missouri 
to* this river is a Piegan and Blackfoot pass of most dangerous 
sort for a lurking enemy ; and yet all the freemen dispersed 
by twos and twos. The rules are totally neglected. Here 
birds are singing and spring smiles. All traps out for the 
first time since we left the fort. 

Friday 30th. Only forty-two beaver. Remain in camp 
today. Three people slept out in spite of rules and I had to 
threaten not to give single ball to them if they did not abide 
by the rules. All promised fair and all is quiet. 

May, Saturday 1st. Fifty- five beaver today. 

Thursday 6th. On a rough calculation all the beaver in 
camp amount to 600 skins, one-tenth of our expected returns. 

Monday lOth^^. This morning I proposed that a small 
party should go on a trip of discovery for beaver across the 
range of mountains which bounds this river on the west in 
the hope of finding the headwaters of Reid's River which 
enters the main Snake River below the fall, on which a post 
was begun by Mr. McKenzie in 1819. I might say begun by 
Mr. Reid in 1813. For this trip, I could get only three men. 

Tuesday 11th. Took fifty beaver and shifted camp. 

Wednesday 12th. Caught fifty beaver. Went up tO' head- 
waters of the river. This is the defile where in 1819 died 
John Day^'''; a little farther on the three knobs so conspicuous 
for being seen. 

Monday 17 th^^. Resolved to make a cache here. Hiding 
furs in places frequented by Indians is a risky business. 

Wednesday 19th. Got a drum made for the use of the camp. 
It is beat every evening regularly at the watch over the horses 
and to rouse all hands in the morning. 

Wednesday 26\kP. Again at Canoe Point on Salmon River. 

26 The party is now probably at the junction of the Salmon and the Pah- 
simari Rivers, in Custer County, Idaho; see page 59 of "The Fur Hunters." 

2y Evidently the John Day of the Astor party, who became a Northwest Com- 
pany trapper under Donald McKenzie. See page 62 of "Fur Hunters." 

28 Now about to start on a profitless trip across the ridge of Salmon River 
Range directly west. See page 64 of "Fur Hunters." 

20 The party has returned from the trip to the westward; see page 67 of 
"Fur Hunters." 

Snake Country Expedition, 1824 381 

Saturday 29th. Crossed over height of land which divides 
the waters of the Sahnon and the Snake descended to Goddin's 
River^^ named in 1820 by the discoverer Thyery Goddin. The 
main south branch of the Columbia, the Nez Perces, the main 
Snake River and Lewis River, are one and the same differently 
named. I have determined to change my course and steer for 
the source of the Great Snake River near the Three Pilot 
Knobs (Three Tetons) a place which abounds both in beaver 
and Blackfeet. I told the people danger or no danger, beaver 
was our object and a hunt we must make. 

Monday 31st. Left eight to trap Goddin's River and raised 
camp for head of the Salmon. 

Sunday 6th (June). The two men ( ) and 

Beauchamp who went off yesterday were robbed by the Pie- 
gans, had a narrow escape with their lives and got back to 
camp a little after dark having traveled on foot forty miles. 
On their way to the place to meet our people they discovered 
a smoke and taking it to be our people advanced within pistol 
shot when behold it proved to be a camp of Piegans. Wheel- 
ing, they had hardly time to take shelter among a few willows 
when they were surrounded by fifteen armed men on horse- 
back. Placing their horses between themselves and the 
enemy, our people squatted down to conceal themselves. The 
Piegans advanced within five paces, when our people raising 
their guns made them fall back. The Indians kept capering 
and yelling around them cock sure of their prey. The women 
had also collected on a small eminence to act a willing part, 
having on their arrow finders and armed with lances. During 
this time, the two men had crept among the bushes, mud and 
water a little out of the way and night approaching made their 
escape leaving behind horses, saddles, traps. They saw the 
tracks of our people near the Piegan camp and that is all we 
know of them. We fear they have been discovered but little 
hope of their escaping as they had little ammunition. 

30 According to Arrow-smith's map this would be Big Lost River, and Day's 
or McKenzie's River would be either Birch Creek or Little Lost River on present 
day maps. Ross seems to have ascended Pahsamari River to source and crossed 
the divide to Birch Creek, where he left his main party and himself made four 
days' trip to Snake River near St. Anthony's. He is back again on the 6th. See 
pages 68, 69, 70 of "Fur Hunters." 

382 Journal of Alexander Ross 

Coison said the Piegans were the rear guard of a large war 
party, from the great quantity of baggage, the men not ex- 
ceeding twenty-five. 

I called the camp together and proposed to start with 
twenty men to find our people and pay the Piegans a visit, 
the camp to remain till my return. The general opinion over- 
ruled my wishes, thinking it safer to move the camp more 
distant, than go- for the men. 

Monday 7th. At an early hour saddled our horses. The 
road proved short to Goddin's River S. W. After letting our 
horses eat a little, I fitted out a party of twenty men well 
armed to go in quest of our people. They set off at sunset, 
old Pierre in command, with orders to find our people and 
observe peace unless attacked. 

Tuesday 8th. All hands in camp ; a park enclosed from 
horses. The big gun mounted and loaded. 

Wednesday 9th. Five of the twenty men back tired out; 
no news. 

June 10th, Thursday^^. All arrived safe this afternoon. The 
Blackfeet taking to flight. Since they separated from us, the 
eight trappers had taken fifty-two beaver. The party lost my 

Friday 11th June. Twelve men fitted out for Henry's Fork 
to meet at the fork on 25th Sept., our party go up Goddin's 

Wednesday 16th June. Took twenty-five beaver, the first 
of our second thousand, low indeed at this advanced season. 
The signs for beaver are very fine ; in one place I counted 148 
trees large and small cut down by beaver in the space of 100 
yards. Last night eight feet and seven toes left in the traps. 
Fifteen traps missing, making loss of thirty beaver. 

Saturday 19th. Had a fright from the Piegans. This 
morning when almost all hands were at their traps scattered 
by ones and twos only ten men left in camp, the Blackfeet to the 

31 See page tz of "Fur Hunters," where Mr. Ross misnames the three buttes 

in the desert southeast of Lost River by calling them the Trois Tetons. He now 
proceeds up Goddins or Big Lost River to its source and crosses to the source of 
the Malade or Big Wood River near Ketchum, Idaho, where the next Indian scare 
occurs. See pages 75-80 of "Fur Hunters." 


Snake Country Expedition, 1824 383 

number of forty all mounted descended at full speed. The 
trappers were so divided, they could render each other no as- 
sistance so they took to their heels among the bushes throwing 
beaver one way, traps another. Others leaving beaver, horses 
and traps, took to the rocks for refuge. Two, Jacques and 
John Grey, were pursued in the open plain. Seeing their horses 
could not save them, like two heroes wheeled about and rode 
up to the enemy, who immediately surrounded them. The 
Piegan chief asked them to exchange guns ; but they refused. 
He then seized Jacques' rifle but Jacques held fast and after 
a little scuffle jerked it from them saying "If you wish to kill 
us, kill us at once ; but our guns you shall never get while we 
are alive." The Piegans smiled, shook hands, asked where 
the camp was and desired to be conducted to it. With pulses 
beating as if any moment would be their last, Jacques and 
John advanced with their unwelcome guests to the camp eight 
miles distant. A little before arriving, Jacques at full speed 
came in ahead whooping and yelling "the Blackfeet! the 
Blackfeet !" but did not tell us they were on speaking terms. 
In an instant the camp was in an uproar. Of the ten men in 
camp, eight went to drive in the horses. Myself and the others 
instantly pointed the big gun lighted the match and sent the 
women away. By this time the party hove in sight but seeing 
John with them restrained me from firing and I made signs 
to them to stop. Our horses were secured I then received 
them coldly well recollecting the circumstances of the two men 
on the 6th and not doubting it was the same party. All our 
people except two came in and the camp was in a state of de- 
fense. I invited them to a smoke. Their story was : We left 
our lands in spring as an embassy of peace to the Snakes, but 
while smoking with them on terms of friendship, they treacher- 
ously shot our chief; we resented the insult and killed two of 
them. We are now on the way to meet our friends the Flat- 
heads." They said the camp was not far off and the party 100 
strong. They denied any knowledge of the 6th inst. After 
dark they entertained us to music and dancing all of which 
we could have dispensed with. Our people threw away 

384 Journal of Alexander Ross 

thirty-two beaver; twenty were brought in. A strong guard 
for the horses. All slept armed. 

Sunday 20th. Again invited the Piegans to smoke ; gave 
them presents ; and told them to set off and play no tricks for 
we would follow them to their own land to punish them. They 
saddled horses and sneaked off one by one along the bushes 
for 400 yards then took to the mountains. The big gun com- 
manded respect. 

Monday 21st. Decamped. Found a fresh scalp; sixty-five 
beaver today. 

Thursday 24th. This is the spot where Mr. McKenzie and 
party fell on this river in spring of 1820 on the way to Ft. 
Nez Perces. 

Saturday 3rd July^^. We left River Malade and proceeded 
to the head of Reid's River^^. In 1813 during the Pacific Fur 
Company, Mr. Reid with a party of ten men chiefly trappers, 
wintered here; in spring, they were all cut off by the natives. 

After Mr. Reid this river was named. At its mouth an 
establishment was begun by Donald McKenzie in 1819. It 
was burned and two men killed. In spring 1820, four men 
more were destroyed by the natives. This river has already 
cost the whites sixteen men. 

August 24th. Number of miles traversed to date, 1,050; 
number of horses lost, 18. 

Saturday, Sept. 18th^*. While our people were crossing the 
height of land, I left the front and taking one man with me 
ascended the top of a lofty peak situated between the sources 
of River Malade and Salmon River, whence I had a very ex- 
tensive view of the surrounding country. Both rivers were 
distinctly seen. The chain of mountains which for 150 miles 
separates the waters of the Salmon River from those which 
enter the Great Snake lie nearly E, W. 

32 Descending the Malade (Big Wood River) to the mouth of Camas Creek, 
the party turns west across Camas Prairie and the divide to the head of the Boise 
River; see pages 80-89 of "Fur Hunters." 

33 Consujt Irving's "Astoria" for account of the death of JNIr. Reed of the 
Pacific Fur Company. 

34 This journal omits entirely all mention of Mr. Ross from the time he 
reached the Boise until he returns on September to the rough mountain pass 
dividing Blaine and Custer Counties, Idaho; for this interim see pages 90-118 of 
"The Fur Hunters." His lofty peak now mentioned may be Boulder Peak of 
today, but he named it Mt. Simpson. 

Snake Country Expedition, 1824 385 

Wednesday 6th Oct.^"^ Our cache of May is safe. Length 
of Salmon River covered this year, 100 miles. 

Oct. 7th. Beaver taken out of cache, counted and packed 
and carried along with us. 

Tuesday, 12th Oct. This morning after an illness of twenty 
days during which we carried him on a stretcher died Jean 
Ba't Boucher, aged 65, an honest man. 

Thursday, 14th Oct. Today Pierre and band arrived pillaged 
and destitute. This conduct has been blamable since they left 
us. They passed the time with the Indians and neglected their 
hunts, quarrelled with the Indians at last, were then robbed 
and left naked on the plains. The loss of twelve out of twenty 
trappers is no small consideration. With these vagabonds ar- 
rived seven American trappers from the Big Horn River but 
whom I rather take to be spies than trappers. Regarding our 
deserters of 1822 accounts do not agree. It is evident part 
of them have reached the American posts on the Yellowstone 
and Big Horn with much fur. I suspect these Americans 
have been on the lookout to decoy more. The scalp furs and 
horses carried last year to Fort des Prairies by the Blackfeet 
belonged to this establishment. The quarter is swarming with 
trappers who next season are to penetrate the Snake country 
with a Major Henry^*' at their head, the same gentleman who 
fifteen years ago wintered on Snake River. The report of 
these men on the price of beaver has a very great influence 
on our trapprs. The seven trappers have in two different 
caches 900 beaver. I made them several propositions but they 
would not accept lower than $3 a pound. I did not consider 
myself avithorized to arrange at such prices. The men accom- 
panied us to the Flatheads. There is a leading person with 
them. They intend following us to the fort. 

Saturday 16th. Sent our express to Mr. Ogden at Spokane 

November 1st, Monday. Got across the divide, 

35 The pirty is now back at Canoe Point; see previous note on May loth. 
The party sent off on June nth joins them a little further along on their 
way to the headwaters of the Missouri. 

36 Major Andrew Henry, the first American trader to cross the continental 
divide (in fall of 1810), and at this time partner of General Wm. H. Ashley in the 
fur business. The desertions of the H. B. Co. freemen to the Americans mentioned 
in this text took place before General Ashley personally ever came to the Rocky 
Mountains; see page 356 of Vol. 11 of Or. Hist. Quart, for discussion of this. 


Alex Ross 

1824. November, Friday 26.^''' — From Prairie de Cheveaux 
myself and party arrived at this place in the afternoon, where 
terminated our voyage of 10 months to the Snakes. Mr. 
Ogden^^ and Mr. Dears^^ with people and outfit from Spokane 
reached this place only a few hours before us. Statement of 
people both voyages ( ?) 

Engaged party with their families, including gentlemen, 
and 43 men, 8 women, 16 children. Freemen and trappers with 
families, 34 men, 8 lads, 22 women and 5 children. Total, 
176 souls. 

To accommodate people and property we use a row of huts 
6 in number, low, linked together under one cover, having 
the appearance of deserted booths. 

Saturday 27. All hands building. Mr. Ogden handed me 
a letter from the Governor appointing me in charge of this 
place for the winter. Mr. Ogden takes my place as chief of 
the Snake expedition. 

Monday 29. Kootenais joined Flatheads at Prairie de 
Cheveaux. Indians are now as follows there: 

Men and 
Lx»dges Lads Guns Women Children 

Flatheads 42 168 180 70 68 

Pend' Orielles 34 108 40 68 71 

Kouttannais 36 114 62 50 48 

Nez Perces 12 28 20 15 23 

Spokanes 4 12 6 7 11 

128 430 308 210 221 
and 1,850 horses. 

37 From the heading it would appear that Mr. Ross now begins a new part 
of the journal, covering his residence at Flathead Post or Fort. 

38 Peter Skene Ogden, well known to Oregon pioneers; see Oregon Hist. 
Quar., Vol. ii, pp. 247-8. 

39 This was Mr. Thomas Dears, who was a clerk of the H. B. Co. on the 
Columbia at this time. 

Snake Country Expedition, 1824 387 

We sent word to the camp to come and begin trade as fol- 
lows : First, Flat. ; 2d P., etc., as in order above. 

Tuesday 30. About 10 o'clock the Flatheads in a body 
mounted, arrived, chanting the song of peace. At a little 
distance they halted and saluted the fort with discharges from 
their guns. We returned the compliment with our brass 
pounder. The reverbating sound had a fine effect. The head 
chief advanced and made a fine speech welcoming the white 
man to these lands, apologizing for having but few beaver. 
The cavalcade then moved up. The chiefs were invited to the 
house to smoke. All the women arrived on horseback loaded 
with provisions and a brisk trade began which lasted till dark. 
The result was, 324 beaver, 154 bales of meat, 159 buffalo 
tongues, etc. 

December, Wednesday 1. The Fend' Orielles arrived in 
the manner of those of yesterday and traded as follows : 198 
beaver, 8 muskrat, etc. 

Received 2000 of the Snake Freemen's^*^ beaver today and 
sent off canoe to Spokane House. 

Thursday 2d. Employed with Freemen and Indians all day. 
At night we had received 2000 more of Snake beaver. 

Friday 3d. The Kootenais accompanied by 10 Piegans 
came up, with the same ceremony and traded as follows : 494 
beaver, 509 muskrat, 2 red foxes, 3 mink, etc. The Kootenais 
do not belong here but are driven from fear of the Piegans 
and Blackfeet. 

The trouble of this part is now over till spring as the In- 
dians have gone home. In all we have traded 1183 beaver, 
14 otter, 529 muskrat, 8 fishers, 3 minks, 1 martin, 2 foxes, 
11,072 pounds dried meat, etc. (Buffalo meat.) 

The trade hardly averages 3 skins per Indian. 

Sunday, December 5. Began to equip the Freemen today. 
Mr. Ogden settling their accounts. Mr. Dears in the Indian 
shop with Interpreter Rivett, and myself with Mr. McKay^^ 
in the equipment shop. 

40 That is, the skins taken by the free hunters that were a part of the expedi- 
tion in distinction from the engaged men or employees of the company. 

41 Probably Mr. Thos. McKay, son of Alex. McKay, of the Pac. FUr Co., whose 
widow became the wife of Dr. John McLoughlin. 

388 Journal of Alexander Ross 

Saturday, December 11. Finished equipping- the Snake 
hunters. Mr. Kittson^^ from the Kootenais arrived.. 

Monday, 20th. Statement of men under Mr. Ogden to go to 
the Snake Country: 25 lodges, 2 gentlemen, 2 interpreters, 71 
men and lads, 80 guns, 364 beaver traps, 372 horses. 

This is the most formidable party that has ever set out for 
the Snakes. Snake expedition took its departure. Each 
beaver trap last year in the Snake country averaged 26 beaver. 
It is expected this hunt will net 14,100 beaver. Mr. Dears 
goes as far as Prairie de Cheveaux. 

Wednesday, 22d. Statement of people at this fort : 2 gen- 
tlemen, 14 laborers, 4 women, 7 children. Set the people 
squaring timber to keep them from plotting mischief. 

Saturday 25th. Considerable Indians ; the peace pipe kept 
in motion. All the people a dram. 

Sunday 26th. No work today. Ordered the men to dress 
and keep the Sabbath. 

January 1, 1825. At daybreak the men saluted with guns. 
They were treated to rum and cake, each a pint of rum and 
a half pound of tobacco. 

March 1. Tuesday. The winter trade from December 4 
has amounted to 71 beaver, 2 otter, 15 muskrat, 3 foxes, etc. 

Saturday, 12 March. ^^After breakfast embarked 4 canoes 
in sight of 1000 natives for Spokane House. 1644 large beaver, 
378 small beaver, 29 otter, 775 muskrats, 9 foxes, 12 fishers, 
1 martin, 8 mink, also leather and provisions. 

(At Spokane House) Friday, 25th March. — Of all situa- 
tions** chosen in the Indian country. -Spokane House is the 
most singular : far from water, far from Indians and out of 
the way. Spokane (Forks) on the west, Kettle Falls on the 
north Coeur d' Alene on the south, Pend' Oreille on the east 
would be better. 

42 William Kittson, who was in charge of the trading post among the 
Kootenais for many years; he died at Fort Vancouver about 1841. His brother, 
Norman, was one of the early millionaires of St. Paul, Minn. 

43 The trading post is now left in charge of some half-breed or entirely 
abandoned until fall, as the Indians spent their summer hunting buffalo. 

44 Mr. Ross indulges in his usual disgust as to the site of Spokane House, 
which feeling he elaborates at length in his "Fur Hunters." And this post was 
abandoned the following year for the new one at Kettle Falls, called Fort Colvile. 



Abernethy, George, characterization of, 
by Lieutetnant Neil M. Howison, 27. 
Astoria, 1846, 41-2; 357-6o. 


Bagley, Clarence B., introduction to 
Lownsdale Letter by, 213-17. 

Barry, J. Neilson, author of Contrib- 
utor's Note, Journal of E. Willard 
Smith, 250. 

Baillie, Captain of British ship "Mod- 
iste," relieves distress of Lieutenant 
Neil M. Howison when shipwrecked, 
10; letter to Howison, 56. 

Blackfeet Indian marauders pursued, 

Biggs, fur-trader with Sublette and 
Vasquez, 269; 271. 

British flag, presence of, in Oregon 
waters a source of irritation in 1846, 7. 

Buffaloes, two ways of hunting, 256-7. 

California draws off immigrants, 28. 

Canadian voyagers settled in Oregon, 
1846; 24. 

Catholic missionaries in Oregon, 1846, 

Columbia River, conditions of bar of, 
in 1846, 7; sailing directions for mov- 
ing vessel safely into Baker's Bay, 
16-18; channel of, 1846. 19; recipro- 
cal current with Willamette, 19. 

Coman's Economic Beginnings of the 
Far West, Review of, 71-79. 

Commerce in Oregon, 1846, 36-40; in- 
adequate means for commercial ex- 
change in Oregon, 1846, 39-40- 

Corbett, Henry W., co-operates as 
partner of Harvey W. Scott and 
Henry L. Pittock in upbuilding of 
Oregonian, 204. 

Douglass, James, characterization of, 
by Lieutenant Neil M. Howison, 31-2. 

Elliott, T. C, editor of Journal of 
John Work, 280-314; editor of Jour- 
nal of Alexander Ross, 366-88. 

English residents in Oregon jealous of 
American advance into northern por- 
tion of the territory of Oregon, 7, 20. 

Flour trade from Oregon to California, 
1847, 13- 

Gates, John, chief engineer Oregon 
Steam Navigation Company, 349. 

Gray, J. H. D., accident to, but he 
continues seamanship, 342. 

Gray, W. H., an expansionist, 321-2; 
family of, 322-3; moves to British 
Columbia, 324; mines gold on the 
Similkameen River, 32.:;: builds boat 
and conducts it down the Okanogan 
and Columbia Rivers to the Des- 
chutes, 326-7; takes cargo from Port- 
land to Lewiston, 330-2; builds Cas- 
cadilla and uses her on Clearwater 
and Snake Rivers, 333-5. 

Gray, Captain William P., Reminis- 
cences OF, 321-54; mail carrier in As- 
toria in 185s, 353-4; adventures of on 
trip from Similkameen to Fort Hope 
on Eraser River, 325-6; conducts his 
folks from Asoyoos Lake to the Des- 
chutes, 326-9; aids in passage up 
Columbia and Snake Rivers to Lew- 
iston, 330-2; in command of the 
Sarah F. Gray, 334; protects father 
from assault by A. Kimball, 335-6; 
takes raft of lumber from Asotin to 
Wallula, 335-8; watchman and mate 
on steamer John H. Couch, 340; pilot 
on Columbia between Celilo and Lew- 
iston, 341-2; in command of Beaver 
on the VVillamette and on the Stikeen, 
343-4; is married, 344-5 ; in charge of 
the Frederick Billings, transfer boat 
of the Northern Pacific Railroad Com- 
pany, 346-7; locates at Pasco, 347-8; 
takes the John Gates through Priest 
Rapids and Rock Island Rapids, 349- 


Heuer, Lieutenant W. H., makes hy- 
drostatic survey of Columbia River 
rapids between Celilo and Snake 
River, 1867, 341-2. 

Howison, Report of Lieutenant Neil 
M. ON Oregon, 1846, 1-60; learns of 
formation of Peacock Spit, 4; enters 
the Columbia, 4-5: vessel is run ashore 
on Chinook Shoal, 5; proceeds up the 
Columbia, 7; vessel grounds on the 
bar in endeavoring to ascend the 
Willamette, 7; visits Governor Aber- 
nethy at Oregon City, and takes a 
week's ride through the Willamette 


Valley, 8; visits Tualatin plains, 8; 
high price of mechanics' labor causes 
ten of Shark's crew to desert, only 
two are returned, 8; sells Peacock's 
launch, 8-9; descends the Columbia, 
9 ; suffers shipwreck in attempting to 
cross bar on Sept. 10, 9-10; puts up 
log houses for sheltering crew, lo-ii; 
charters the Cadboro, 11-12; receives 
intelligence of Oregon treaty, Mexican 
war and occupation of California, 12; 
is pent up in Cadboro anchored in 
Baker's Bay from Nov. 17 to Jan. 18, 
12-13; crosses bar and proceeds to 
California Jan. 18, 13; narrates role 
of Dr. John McLoughlm in Oregon, 
21-3; comments on population and 
politics of Oregon, 21-35. 

HowisoN, Lieutenant Neil M., U. S. 
Navy, record of service of, 364-5- 

Hudson's Bay Company, landed posses- 
sions and agricultural operations of, 

(2) Hudson's Bay Company factors 
give Lieutenant Howison friendly and 
considerate relief, 10; accept bills on 
Baring & Bros, at par, 10. 

(i) Hudson's Bay Company agents har- 
assed by intrusive Americans, 33-4- 

Idaho, gold discoveries cause organiza- 
tion of territory of, 61. 

Indian agent's experience in the war 
of 1886, 65-7- ^ ^ „ 

Indian population in Oregon, 1846, 46-8. 

Indian uprising of 1886, the last in the 
Pacific Northwest, 65. 

Linn City, founded by Robert Moore, 
1843, 215- 

Linnton, 1846, 42; 215. 

LowNSDALE, Daniel H., Letter by, to 
Samuel R. Thurston, 213-49; bio- 
graphical data on, 215. 

Lownsdale Letter, historical import- 
ance of, 217; urges preference be 
given Americans in conflicting pre- 
emption rights, 218; old organic law 
of Oregon did not grant any right to 
soil, 218-19; suggests wording for 
land law, 219-221; custom house lo- 
cation, 221; resume of British opera- 
tions in Oregon country from author s 
point of view, 221-4; source of "nest- 
of-dangers" reputation of the mouth 
of the Columbia, 224-6; Commodore 
Wilkes and his officers "taken in" at 
Fort Vancouver, 226-9; how the "law- 
yer, the judge and the general with 
the helpers, the former legislators," 
were handled, 229-30; how the insur- 
gency of 1846 was subdued, 230-2; the 
terms of the treaty and the ownership 
of the Hudson's Bay Company station 
and mill at Oregon City, 232-3; the 
Indians used as pawns, 224-44; trust 
methods used by Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany authorities, 242-4; "friends at 
court" and delegate to Congress be- 
come the issue, 245-9. 

LuPTON, fur trader, 251-258; his fort, 


McCarver, M. M., with Peter H. Bur- 
nett, selected site of Linnton, 215. 

McClure, Colonel John, has pre-emp- 
tion claim to Point George, 12. 

McLoughlin. Dr. John, role of, in 
Oregon narrated by Lieutenant Neil 
M. Howison, 21-3. 

McLoughlin, Dr. John, cost of im- 
provements made by, at Willamette 
F"alls to January i, 1851, 68-70. 

Methodist missionaries in Oregon, 1846, 

Milton laid off at mouth of Willamette, 

Multnomah laid off below Linn City by 
Hugh Burns, 215. 


Northern Pacific Railroad Company's 
transfer boat, the Frederick Billings, 
at Ainsworth on the Snake River and 
later at Pasco, 346-7- 

Ogden, Peter Skeen, characterized by 
Lieutenant Neil M. Howison, 31-2. 

Oregon, rapid development of, in early 
forties causes a statistical account two 
years old to be out of date, 9; winds 
and weather affecting conditions of 
navigation, 14-15; portions of occupied 
in 1846, 21; people of, in 1846, 21-6; 
political conditions in, 1846, 26-7; 
wretched plight of incoming pioneers 
soon relieved, 28-9; Hudson's Bay 
Company and missionaries, through 
credit given and assistance afforded, 
lighten hardships of pioneers, 29-30; 
company's officials seek political in- 
fluence through credit extended, 30-1; 
strong patriotic feeling among the 
Americans, 32-3', commerce in, 36-40. 

Oregon in 1863, 61-4; population, 61-4; 
political directory of, 1863, 62-3; tax- 
able property in, 64. 

Oregon, Eastern, gold discoveries in, 
cause filling up of, 61. 

Oregon City, 1846, 43; first place se- 
lected as townsite in Oregon, 215. 

Oregon Defenses, 54-5. 

Oregon flocks and herds, 1846, 52-3. 

Oregon flora, 51. 

Oregon meteorology, 50. 

Oregon Steam Navigation Company 
makes effort in 1864 to take steamboat 
through Snake River canyon to ply 
between Old's Ferry and Boise, 339- 

Osrorn, Burr, Survivor of Howison 
Expedition to Oregon in 1846, Rem- 
iniscences of experiences growing out 
of wrecking of United States schooner 
Shark at mouth of Columbia, 355-64- 

Pacific City, laid off by Elijah White, 

Peacock's launch left bv Captain Wilkes 
in charge of Dr. McLoughlin, sold by 
Lieutenant Howison, 8-9. 

PiTTOCK. Henry L., part of, in the up- 
building of the Oregonian, 204- 

Portland, 1846. 42; claims to land on 
site of, 215; in 1862, 333. 



Rose Festival, Why Not a Folk Festi- 
val in the, 315-17. 

Ross, Alexander, Journal of, on Snake 
River Expedition, 1824, 366-88; ac- 
tivities in Pacific Northwest fur trade, 
365; his books, 365-6; course traced 
in Snake River expedition, 1824, 367-8. 

St. Helens, founded by Captain H. M. 
Knighton, 216. 

St. John, founded by James Johns, 216. 

Salem, 1846, 44. 

Salmon fisheries in Oregon, 1846, 47-8; 
superstitious ceremonies and practices 
of Indians regarding, 47-8. 

ScHENCK, Lieutenant W. S., is dis- 
patched up the Columbia as high as 
The Dalles, 8. 

Scott, Anne Roelofson, pioneer condi- 
tions impose "a long agony of self- 
sacrifice upon, 94-5. 

Scott, Harvey W., Editor — Review of 
His Half-Century Career and Esti- 
mate OF His Work, 87-133: the Ore- 
gon of his youth and of his maturity 
and his relation to it, 87-89; external 
record of his life, 89-91; ancestry of, 
91-92; domination of pioneer vision, 
temper and spirit in life of, 92-5; his 
self-reliance and individualism, 95-6; 
his first writing for the Oregonian. 
96-7; times and conditions had much 
to do with his spirit and methods, 97; 
encourages assistants in all depart- 
ments of Oregonian. 97-8; his interest 
centered in editorial page, 98; funda- 
mental motive was social responsibil- 
ity, 98; an autocrat, but dominated by 
demands of social conditions and fun- 
damental principles, 99-101; felt that 
he alone could pledge the (Drcgonian, 
101-2; maintains integrity of the news, 
adhering strictly to commandment, 
"Thou slialt not bear false witness," 
102-3; occasionally, however, used a 
"smashing headline," 103-4: loyalty to 
principles and abstract ideal combined 
with course shaped by necessities of 
working relations, 104-6 Oregon af- 
forded vantage ground for interpreta- 
tion of national tendencies, 107-8; 
championship of cause of sound money 
representative, 108-9; summary of his 
professional character, 109-10; his 
prodigious reading and wonderful 
memory, 1 10-12; theology his deepest 
interest, 1 13-14; his style a reflection 
of his mind, 114-15; delights in the 
literature of the imagination, 115-16; 
nature has profound fascination for 
him. 1 16-17: solidity the characteristic 
qualitv cf his thought and expression, 
1 17-18: his consideration as an em- 
ployer, it8-io; delights in companion- 
ship of those of understanding and 
sympathy, iig-20: friendships with 
men of native and genuine quality, 
120-3: new relationships formed in 
the East in later years, 124-5; secret 
of this exemplified in the Archbishop 

Corngan dinner, 124-5; has little sym- 
pathy with personal incapacity and its 
consequences, 125-6; his tenderest 
feehng for childhood, 126-7; the ap- 
peal of the United States Senate to 
him, 127-9; his indifference to appear- 
ances, 129-30; the home interest of his 
life, 130-1; the sentiments that were 
the spiritual guides of his life, 131; 
the large issues in which he had a 
leading part, 135; list of events in 
lief of, 133. 

Mr. Scott's Library as a 'Gauge of 
His Broad Scholarship and Literary 
Activity, 134-9; early and continued 
interest in history, 134-5; large famil- 
iarity with ancient classics, 135; an- 
cient and biblical history deeply 
studied by him, 136; wide reading of 
publicists, Burke and Hamilton, 136-7; 
exponents of liberal thought, of meta- 
physics and of philosophy appreciated, 
137; the fiction that stood the test of 
time a part of his reading, 138; an as- 
tounding memory of poetry, 138-9. 
Review of Writings based on ten 
thousand articles written by him, 140- 
204; dominating idea in his editorial 
productions — individual functions and 
duty, 141 ; mode of life of pioneer West 
inculcated self-reliance, 142; senti- 
mental interest in Oregon history, 143; 
his reading and social intercourse, 
1J4; the editor of practical affairs, 
of idealistic sense and of scholarly 
attainment, 145; belief in war as the 
nursery of national unity and strength, 
145; has many friends among theo- 
logians of divergent sects, 146-7; held 
religious feeling to be a permanent 
force in nature of men, 147; his opin- 
ions on religion epitomized, 148-9; his 
perennial fight for sound money, 149; 
the beginning and the culmination of 
it, 140; though a Westerner, he com- 
bats financial and monetary delusions 
bred under Western conditions, 150-1; 
resists repudiation, 152-4; points out 
"fundamental error" in our monetary 
system to be "fiat money," 154-5; free 
coinage of silver fought as a later 
phase of fiat money, 155-6; mainte- 
nance of gold standard no more open 
to debate than multiplication table, 
156-7; contrasts Cleveland's firmness 
with vacillating policy of McKinley, 
159; the silver issue counted by him 
as gravest crisis in our industrial his- 
tory, 160-1: the course of history set 
awry by assassination of Lincoln, 162; 
his Nationalist idea grew with man- 
hood, 162-3; indiscriminate negro suf- 
frage a mistake, 163-4: Southern fear 
of negro and Northern prejudice a 
nightmare dispelled, 164; the national 
idea the main line of demarcation be- 
tween the two chief political parties, 
165: the tendency of democracy to 
subdivision, but this more than coun- 
terbalanced by forces making for na- 
tional unity, 166-7: Jefferson the "evil 
genius of our national and political 
life" and the "glory of Hamilton the 
greatness of America," i68-o- his in- 
terpretation of national expansion 
across the Pacific, 169-71; took issue 


with the Republican party with regard 

to its protective policy, but affiliated 
with that party because of his agree- 
ment with it on more serious ques- 
tions, 1 71 -4; deprecates violent expul- 
sion of Chinese, but holds that social 
need of exclusion outweighs indus- 
trial need of Chinese labor on the 
Pacific Coast, 174-8; expressions 
evoked from him by agitations, chal- 
lenges and experiences in the hard 
times of 1894, 178-82; out of sympa- 
thy with progressive socialization of 
industry, 182-3; minimized efficacy of 
social legislation, placed all responsibil- 
ity upon home, 183-6; "industry is the 
first of the influences of right living," 
186-9; goal that socialistic teachings 
would lead to pointed out, 189-90; ex- 
tension of governmental functions op- 
posed, 190-1: advocates of single tax 
doctrine criticised, 192; trust methods 
scored, 192-3; modification of Oregon 
system urged that representative sys- 
tem of law-making and of party organ- 
ization might be preserved, 193-8; 
participations in some railway rival- 
ries, 198-200; combatted mortgage tax, 
200; influences specified that contrib- 
ute to high cost of living, 200-1 ; inde- 
pendence the prime requisite for right 
functioning in journalism, but legiti- 
mate money-making must be first 
object, 201-4. 

Tributes to Mr. Scott's Achievements 
IN Journalism, 206. 

Sioux Indian depredations in Rocky 
Mountains, 265-8; 271. 

Smith, E. Willard, Journal of, while 
with fur traders, Sublette and Vas- 
quez, 250-79; biographical note on, 

Sublette, William L., probably one of 
the leaders of the expedition into the 
Rocky Mountains, 1839-40, 250-1. 


Thurston, Samuel R., history of, pa- 
pers of, 214. 
Toulon, voyage of, 1847, i3- 

Vasquez and Sublette expedition into 
the RocKy Mountains, 1839-40, course 
of, 251-3; in council with the Arapa- 
hoes, 260. 


Walker, I. R., leader of expedition to 
California, 253; discoverer of Yosemite 
wonderland, 253; 268. 

Wilbur, Rev. J. H., experiences of, as 
Indian agent in 1886, 65-7. 

Wilkes, Lieutenant Charles, cause 
for criticism of, by early Oregonians, 

Willamette River freezes over at Port- 
land in Winter of 1861-2, 332-3. 

Work, John, Journal of, on Snake 
Country Expedition, 1830-1, 280-314; 
course of expedition, 280-1; summary 
of travels and disasters during expe- 
dition, 314. 

Young, F. G., author of supplement- 
ary note to Lownsdale letter, 217; 
author of introductory note to journal 
of E. Willard Smith, 250-3; author of 
"Why Not a Folk Festival in the Rose 
Festival?" 3IS-I7. 



{ ■ , '-' 


Organized December 17, 1898 

FREDERICK V. HOLMAN ..... President 

JOSEPH R. WILSON - - - - - Vice-President 

F. a YOUNG ...... Secrttarv 


GEORGE H. HIMES. AsaUlanl Secretarv. 


Term expires at Aaaual Meeting in December, 1913 

Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1914. 

Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1915. 

Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1916. 

The Quarterly a lent (lee to all memben d the Society. The annual due> are two doUart. 
The (ee Im life membenhip is twenty-five dollan. 

Contributions to The QuarteHu and correspondence relative to historical materials, oi r-ertainins 
to the affairs of this Sodety, should be addressed to 



Eugene, Oregon, 

Snbtcriptions lot Tht Quarletlu. or for the other publications of the Society, should be sent to 


Assistant Secretary, 
205-207 Second Street. Portland, Oregon. 



^^m. OCT 88